The concept of 3d effects and images goes back to at least 1692 when Gois-Clair, a French painter, discovered that he could achieve a dimensional effect on canvas by interposing a grid between the viewer and the painting. Bois-Clair painted two distinct pictures on a plane surface, over which he affixed a grid of vertical laths. These laths were arranged perpendicular to the plane and attached to it at right angles. By looking at the painting from the left side, you would see one distinct painting, while if you looked from the right side, you would see another distinct painting, while if you looked straight on, you would see a blending of the two together. Examples of his work can be seen at the Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen. The Brussels Museum of Arts has a similar example, but using three distinct images.
Russian Lenticular films of the 1930's
1936 Patents covering what would lead to the formation of Vari-Vue. The term Lenticular is used in the patent to describe linear lenses.
1948 Vari-Vue is formally incorporated in New York. Informally, lenticulars had been produced by the founder since the 30's. Vari-Vue goes on to popularize the technology world wide and becomes a household name. Vari-Vue creates the first flip images, animated images and "winkies". Most terms used in the lenticular industry today were coined by Vari-Vue.
Look Magazine printed anaglyph images, starting in 1950
The February 25, 1964 issue of Look Magazine featured a Lenticular black and white image of Thomas Edison surrounded by several of his inventions. An other example was in the April 7, 1964 issue of Look Magazine and was full color ad for Kodel Fiber division of Eastman Chemical Company. Eight million lenticular images were produced for each of these two magazine issues.
Venture, which was also owned by Crowl Communications, used a lenticular cover for their magazines, starting in 1964.
Crowle Communications produced, between 1964 and 1968, 100 million "Xerographs" or lenticular images under the Crowle Communications name and under the Visual Panographics, Inc name (which was located at 488 Madison Avenue in New York City). Sizes ranged from a few millimeters to 28" wide by 19 1/2" high. They used so-called rigid PVC or poly vinyl chloride which as inexpensive to produced but had a number of drawbacks including its tendency to yellow, and limited optical qualities. This technology was at licensed and then purchased from Topan Printing in Japan, which, in the late 1950's, had a relationship with Vari-Vue, also of New York.
**"Lenticular" is a trade name used by Vari-Vue to describe linier lenses and was coined in a 1936 patent covering lenticular technology which led to the formal formation of Vari-Vue in 1948.