Cool Lunchboxes Throughout History

Ever since mankind started going off to work and school, they have needed to eat a nice lunch. These lunches needed a box. These boxes needed goofy branding in the form of a movie or television show. With that, we present to you a bunch of cool lunchboxes throughout history (or at least since the themed lunchbox was invented).

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Mickey Mouse — Circa 1935

How little things change in 80 years, right? Even back in 1935, the smiling visage of Mickey Mouse could be seen on lunchboxes in schools throughout the world. But they've actually been around longer than that. While this 1935 box seems to be the first occurrence of pop culture branding, decorative lunchboxes go back to at least 1902.

Via: Legendary Auctions

Hopalong Cassidy — Circa 1950

After Mickey Mouse took school cafeterias by storm in the 1930s, it still took over 15 years for the deluge of branded lunchboxes to start. The first of the lunchtime gold rush? Western star Hopalong Cassidy. This lunchbox did booming business, so much that it was the "must-have" item that year and was often sold out at department stores.

Via: SodaHead

Tom Corbett Space Cadet — Circa 1954

Another successful lunchbox of the early 1950s was this Tom Corbett, Space Cadet jobbie. Kids love their space shows. (Like Cooking Channel loves space-saving shows.)

Via: Etsy

Beatles — Circa 1964

For a brief period in the 1960s, vinyl lunchboxes became a hot item. These boxes usually featured bright colors and were marketed to girls. Case in point? This image of the fab four in all of their eternal "awwww" cuteness. Not sure why there are multiple signatures, though.

Via: Greatest Collectibles

Star Trek — Circa 1968

Throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s, manufacturers began changing the look and feel of lunchboxes. For a while, these "dome" boxes were popular. Also, if you were young in the late 1960s and brought your lunch in one of these, you were likely the coolest kid in your school.

Via: eBay

Peanuts — Circa mid-1970s

At some point in the 1970s, manufacturers figured out that plastic lunchboxes were a lot cheaper to make, yet could be sold at the same price. One of the first of these to grace schoolrooms was this cute Peanuts model. Let's hope a bully didn't steal this, force someone to try to kick it and then swipe it away at the last second.

Via: Greatest Collectibles

E.T. — Circa 1982

In 1982, you'd be hard-pressed to find a lunch table that didn't have a couple of these resting on it. Also on the table? A few half-eaten bags of Reese's Pieces. Yay for cross-promotional marketing!

Via: Etsy

Rambo — Circa 1986

All good things had to come to an end, and so it was with metal lunchboxes. Eventually the entire industry turned to plastic, with John Rambo (that stubborn stick in the mud) being the last tin lunchbox of the "golden age" of the industry.

Via: Etsy

Barbie Dream House — Circa 1998

The 1990s saw a lunchbox renaissance of sorts, with many manufacturers experimenting with the form to create some pretty cool stuff. For example, this Barbie Dream House lunchbox that actually looks like one's, well, dream house.

Via: eBay

Walking Dead — Circa 2011

In recent years, metal lunchboxes have experienced a resurgence thanks to the collector's market. Pretty much every cool comic and science fiction/fantasy show gets its own lunchbox nowadays. Also, no, this Walking Dead box is not filled to the brim with brains.

Via: Atomic Books