Eat My Lunch! Lunchboxes Through History

The A-Team lunchbox
The A-Team Lunchbox: It’s what’s outside that counts.
In the fifites, sixties and seventies, before the move to cheap plastic with paper stickers glued on, lunchboxes provided a glimpse into American culture. If you don’t believe me, the fact that just a couple of years ago the Smithsonian had a lunchbox exhibit should convince you.

My school served lunch, so I had no need to bring my own, but I did have a lunchbox.  In fact, I still do—in 1978  I bought a Star Wars lunchbox, and I still have it, along with the Empire Strikes Back version and the Return of the Jedi one. But friends owned tin boxes featuring Charlie’s Angels, A-Team and various other crime fighting crusaders.  We used them as pencil cases, purses, general carry-alls for jacks and pads and anything else we wanted to keep close at hand.

Who did you carry?


  1. Deborah Lacy

    What a fun post. I carried a Scooby Doo lunchbox. The Star Wars boxes seem so much more sophisticated.

  2. Laura K. Curtis

    Deb – I think it’s all about age. I was 13 when Star Wars came out, and I was addicted to all things school-supply like. That hasn’t changed, either. I still love pens, pads, etc! Since that was the most important thing going when I happened to be 13, that’s what I adopted.

  3. Yvonnes

    Great post! I remember having a red Charlie Brown one, a Rose Petal Place one (which I still have!) and one that I can’t remember the name of the cartoon but had animal characters…”Special Friends or Critters” keep coming to mind as part of the name but I can’t remember. 🙂

  4. Becca Hollingsworth

    I remember having a metal Snow White lunchbox, and then a plastic Snoopy one.

    Some years ago I went to a traveling museum exhibit on lunchboxes (does the Smithsonian exhibit ever travel?) where I learned the totally useless bit of trivia that Rambo was the last character to appear on a steel lunchbox.

  5. Laura K. Curtis

    Biblio –

    I bet the Smithsonian exhibit travels–a lot of theirs do. I can’t believe you remember that bit of trivia, and am simultaneously sad that it’s true. Rambo? Really. *sigh*

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