Thursday, August 11, 2011

COLLECTION #30: Vintage School Supplies!

In our town, school will be getting underway in just a couple of weeks.  Families are flocking to Target, Wal-mart, and Office Depot, shopping for school supplies. Our kids are all grown, and so this busy back-to-school season is once again, passing us by. But there's still a little twinge every time I see those ads for school supplies: not nostalgia for helping my own kids get ready for school, but waaaaaay back, when I used to shop with my Mom for my own supplies. Things were a lot different back in the 50s and 60s. No calculators, laptops, or even backpacks. School backpacks didn't come into fashion until I was in college. We carried our books in our arms, and later in junior high & high school, we girls carried book bags which were like big straw bags, big enough for all of our stuff.
Earlier generations of kids carried book bags that looked more like children's briefcases. I found one a number of years ago, and it's here in my vintage school supply collection. Another thing we used to carry, was pencil boxes. Made from everything from cardboard to wood to vinyl, it was fun to find a box with lots of little compartments to store our mini-ruler, pencils, pens, erasers, and compasses. Pencil boxes often had artwork popular for the era: Mickey Mouse, Roy Rogers, the Monkees.

I also have a few vintage art supplies from the 40s,  50s and 60s. The chalk and watercolor box were my own as a child. I love the artwork on the red crayon box. And of course, Crayola brand crayons have hardly changed through the decades.
I hope these supplies bring back lots of memories for you... maybe you don't have happy school memories, but shopping for school supplies was universally fun, don't you think?


Robin said...

I had a bookbag like the one in your pic....mine was a Black Watch plaid, bound in brown vinyl. We carried them at Mayfield, for our Dick and Jane books, crayons, pencils, etc. No in the fifth grade and up had fountain pens...we couldn't be trusted I guess. I never liked chalk, didn't like the way it felt on my fingers...but I loved my Crayolas and my Prang watercolor set. By the time I got to Marengo, with the hopscotch squares painted on the asphalt, I had the best....what did we call them, lagers? Mine was my name set in a slug of hot type at my grandfather's paper...the lead made it heavy, but a dead weight that didn't skid on the pavement. I remember that the only place to shop for school uniforms was Bullock's Pasadena. When I started public school, it was so much harder...CHOICES! And the buyers were could tell because all the Back To School stuff was WOOL. The day after Labor Day is traditionally the hottest day of the year....

Goldielover said...

Here in Canada, the crayon of choice in the 1960s was usually the Sargent Hexagon. Much better than Crayola in our opinion, but sadly defunct now. The best pencil crayons were the Laurentian ones. Those still exist. The favourite paint boxes were the red Reeves Tempera metal boxes, which I think held 12 replaceable colour disks. One thing that was always on the list (given to us by the school) was those cardboard art portfolios. Don't see those any more. The big ticket item as far as most kids were concerned was always the metal lunch box. So many different character types were available. I had many, but my favourite was always the one with the black horse on one side, and a collie dog on the other. The glass lined thermos never lasted too long, though.