Metal Lunchboxes and Americana

Posted by: Radar Toys in Member Blogs

Here at Radar Toys we spend a lot of time doing one thing - time traveling. Epic nostalgia adventures into times gone past, until we wake up and it's time to pay bills. The great franchises of story, television, and movies from the last five decades have been aging very well and holding their own against the media of today. And given the media of today, originality, it seems, is harder than it appears. The fashion the last few years is to revisit, re-make, and reinvent things that were revered in the past. So, it seems these days that anything good is actually only "recycled good." We could insert a very long list here that could go like, Transformers, Willy Wonka, and about a dozen superhero movies. And you know what....

That's okay. People enjoy seeing their revered franchises see the light of day again, and they cross their fingers that the new spin will do the franchise justice. It gives people the opportunity to share something that was special to them at one time, with someone that they care about and experience it once more. If done well, it can be a very good thing for beloved franchises. So what's the point of all this, you say?

The other day we were time traveling again and sharing stories. The conversation turned to a product that we all had as kids, and yet they were all different. What was it, you say? It was something awesome, something functional, and something we loved and yet, beat up on with healthy amounts of abuse. Drum roll please..we give you... metal lunchboxes. At Radar Toys we are certainly all unique and different individuals, and yet, we laughed at how amazing it is that we all had this one product in common. 

Most popular from the 1960's to the late 1980's, metal lunchboxes stood in a unique field. Kids naturally hated school, and yet loved their lunchboxes. They compared them, picked them out with keen interest every year, and generally cherished them. It didn't matter how soggy and gross that peanut butter and jelly sandwich was, as long as it was brought to school by He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Or perhaps Star Wars, or Barbie, or Jem and the Rockers. They were perhaps the coolest and most functional product of many, many childhoods. 

This conversation led us to wonder whatever happened to metal lunchboxes? Sadly, they faded out of popularity in the early 1990's and haven't really been seen since. Back to school retail doesn't sell them, and they seem to have become a relic. It's sad because they occupy a unique place in product Americana history. These days, most lunchboxes are soft shelled vinyl and full of zippers. 

The bright spot in the story is that two things have happened. Those original metal lunchboxes have developed a great collectors market and are not being forgotten. The second thing is that one company out there remembers the power of the metal lunchbox and is still producing them to both our amazement and joy. The Tin Box Company seems to have risen as the savior of a major piece of childhood nostalgia for us here at Radar Toys. They are a little smaller than the original lunchboxes than we remember, but still one hundred percent awesome. Enough words, take a look:


Pretty sweet, huh? Yeah, we thought so too. They look great and ready for a new generation of childhood's. Hats off to the Tin Box Co. on keeping these products out there. What really impressed us is that they are not any more expensive than any other plastic and vinyl lunchboxes out there already. These metal versions go for anywhere from $5.99 to $9.99. That makes them an easy choice for us to make when shopping for our kids, or heck, for us when you're talking about that Capt. America version...laugh. So these are good, and definitely "recycled good" approved. Hope you enjoyed the article and have fond dreams of that long lost metal lunchbox that you once cherished.

-- Radar Toys

Tags: Action Figures, Other Stuff, Tin Toys

Radar Toys
Radar Toys on June 20, 2011


thx for the comments. Personally I had He-Man and a few Star wars. I think there may have been a Sesame Street one in there somewhere, but I'm denying
StarbaseBravo on June 19, 2011


Awesome article. I never had a metal lunch box. I started school after that era had mostly ended. Of the ones pictured, I'd have to go with Yoda. The smallest, yet biggest, badass in the Star Wars galaxy.
Baskingshark on June 17, 2011


Back in the day, I had the Dukes of Hazzard one (with Bo & Luke, not Coy & Vance).
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