Metal Lunchboxes

By Julie Anderson

Strawberry Shortcake Metal LunchboxFor many of us, back-to-school shopping wasn’t just about wheedling our parents into springing for Nikes, Trapper Keepers, and a couple of new pairs of jeans. We also needed a brand new metal lunchbox (with coordinating Thermos) imprinted with our favorite TV characters.

Check out these me-and-my-new-lunchbox pics and prepare for an uncontrollable case of the awwwww’s when you see these totally cute eighties kids:

I spy a couple of brothers who thought Luke’s Tauntaun was pretty cool.

Brothers sport a Star Wars metal lunch box featuring Luke riding a Tauntaun (photo credit: gignomai)
Photo credit: gignomai

And here’s another Empire fan with a big, proud smile. I love how he’s both wearing the shirt AND carrying the lunchbox.

Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back lunchbox (photo credit: eric rasch)
Photo credit: Eric Rasch

This lucky boy’s mom decided to make an Easter basket for him with a brand-new Battlestar Galactica lunchbox. What a sweet and original idea!

Battlestar Galactica lunchbox (photo credit: kerrytoonz)
Photo credit: kerrytoonz

I asked my husband what he remembered about metal lunchboxes and his immediate response was, “The smell. You know how everything got all hot in there, like it was cooking? It always smelled kind of… organic by lunch time.” I don’t really remember the smell per se, but I do recall that my Velveeta and ham-and-cheese loaf sandwich would be kind of melted into one unit after sitting for a few hours in homeroom. Effectively insulated they were NOT.

80s Metal Lunchboxes

Also, metal lunchboxes were prone to rust spots, but even that doesn’t cool our nostalgic ardor. Some metal lunchboxes from the 80s go for a couple hundred bucks, so the investment (or search through the attic) can really pay off. Plastic lunchboxes became popular in the eighties, but it’s the metal ones, with the embossed designs, that collectors love most. Ebay and Etsy are great sources if you’d like to start your own collection or simply find that treasured Care Bears lunchbox from third grade.

Pac-Man lunchbox (photo credit: freshdub)
Photo credit: freshdub

Thundercats lunchbox (photo credit: 11movieman)
Photo credit: 11movieman

Gremlins lunchbox (photo credit: Gotham City Toy Store)
Photo credit: Gotham City Toy Store

Author: Pia Sooney

Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks. When not making friendship pins or listening to Depeche Mode, she runs a web design business.

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