BACK IN THE DAY... (I always wanted to say that.) I was one of those kids who once took their lunch to school in those cool metal lunch boxes. Mine was "ZORRO" the one pictured here. All the kids at Winnona Park had them. Those were the days.
Vintage Lunch Boxes May Carry Memories:By Ralph Kovel and Terry Kovel
Collecting is a great way to remember your childhood, so it is not surprising that old, metal lunch boxes have become popular collectibles.
The idea of a tin pail or box to hold a lunch is not new.
In the late 1800s, products like tobacco were sold in tin containers with handles so they could be reused as lunch boxes. The boxes were decorated with ads for the product. In those days, many men took a lunch with them to their work in factories, fields or offices.
The tradition of the lunch box continued in the 1900s. In 1949, it is said, the makers of Aladdin vacuum bottles thought it might boost lunch box sales if they put a picture of a popular TV star on the box and the bottle. They added a decal of Hopalong Cassidy, and it sold so well that others followed.
Roy Rogers, another TV cowboy, had a lithographed steel lunch box by 1953. More than 2 1/2 million were sold. The steel boxes remained popular in the 1950s and ’60s.
Hundreds of boxes picturing TV, movie and comic characters, and even popular toys, were made.
In the 1970s, the Florida legislature passed a law outlawing metal boxes because they were dangerous–some were used to bash school classmates.
After that, lunch boxes were made of hard plastic or vinyl. They are still decorated with popular images, but they have lost some of their glamour. Metal boxes in excellent condition sell for hundreds of dollars each.