Vintage lunch boxes
Lunch boxes are boxes, typically made of metal, which are used to carry packed lunches. History
Geuder, Paeschke, and Frey, a Wisconsin based company is credited for creating the very first modern lunch box. It was in the year 1935 when the company came out with a “lunch kit” line that was decorated with an image of Mickey Mouse. This food container (made out of metal) was closed at the top using a piece of hard wire that also functioned as a carrying handle.
This started the trend of lunch boxes having characters placed on their side, giving birth to the concept of lunch box as we know it today. Soon, lunch boxes also became fashion statements in schools.
Disney was one of the first companies that capitalized on the use of characters in lunchboxes. After seeing success in the licensing of its character Mickey Mouse to a lunch box maker, the company soon made aggressive moves to further enhance this business segment. Disney decided to partner with Owens Illinois during the 1930s to the early 1940s to create lunchboxes that featured some of its well-loved characters such as Snow White and Pinocchio.
During the 1950s, Disney commissioned ADCO to design a lunch box that featured Donald Duck and his nephews on one side and Mickey Mouse on the other. This lunchbox is now highly sought after by collectors. Aladdin, another lunch box maker, made one for Disney in 1965 featuring Mary Poppins. This lunch box though, does not attract the attention of many collectors today. In circulation from 1961 up to 1973, this lunch box sold around 9 million units.
Popular movie and television characters seemed to be perfect images for lunch boxes. During the 1950s, Aladdin created lunch boxes featuring Hopalong Cassidy, while American Thermos developed a line of Roy Rogers-themed lunch boxes from 1953 to 1957. The 1950s also saw the emergence of space themes such as the one made by Aladdin that featured Tom Corbett Space Cadet.
During the 1960s, more and more futuristic designs entered the market. In 1963, Aladdin made the Jetsons lunch box, while in 1968 it released its Star Trek line (which today is highly sought after by both vintage lunch box fanatics and Star Trek fans alike).
Vinyl is another material that is used in making lunch boxes. It does not stack up high in the durability department, which makes finding a vintage lunch box today in good condition rather difficult. Vinyl lunch boxes started to appear in the 1960s. Reflecting the trend of the time, many of these containers featured pop icons and stars. Highly collectible vinyl lunch boxes are those that have images of popular 1960s bands, such the Monkees and the Beatles.
Lunch box value
For a vintage lunch box to sell at a good price, it should be in mint condition. Any damage, dents or scratches will substantially decrease its value.
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