24 school supplies every kid wanted back in the 1970s

Pee Chee Folders, Banana Ink, Trapper Keepers and Snack Packs… those were the days.

Images: vintage-advertisement / Tumblr and radioshackcatalogs.com

It's that time of year again! Kids are starting to head back to school. These days, they're likely lugging laptops and tablets. Forty years ago, just being able to multiply numbers on a calculator was cutting-edge technology. 

Let's rewind the clock to a time when John Travolta and Farrah Fawcett were the gods of hair, when Sweathogs were style icons, when gym shorts were super short… 

Here are things that school kids yearned to have in the 1970s, from first grade to senior year.

1. Little Professor Calculators


Sorry, kids, it couldn't play Pokémon. However, you could punch in "07734" and turn it upside down to say hi to your friends.

Image: Smilehood / Etsy

2. Trapper Keeper


Who can forget the KRRRTTCCH sound of the Velcro seal ripping open? The Trapper Keeper was launched by Mead in 1978 and became an immediate must-have.

Image: trapperkeeper.com

3. Westab "Superstar" Notebooks


Donny is the dreamiest! No, David! Were you #TeamOsmond or #TeamCassidy? You had to choose sides in the 1970s.

Image: vintage-advertisement / Tumblr

4. Pee Chee Folders


We would doodle on and deface those classic images while bored in history class.

Image: thefiend / Flickr

5. Bic Banana Ink Crayons


The commercials featured Charles Nelson Reilly wearing a banana suit, drawing a hat on a banana. Who wouldn't want to buy these pens?

Image: Bic / YouTube

6. Husky Pencils


"Husky" was used a lot more as an adjective back then.

Image: brandnamepencils.com

7. Panasonic Electric Pencil Sharpener


Pity the older generations who had to turn a crank! (Well, we still had to do that, too.) Still, it was pretty awesome when you came across one of these noisy sharpeners.

Image: The Pencil Pusher / Etsy

8. Metal lunch box with plastic thermos


Welcome Back, Kotter, Emergency!, CHiPs… Which TV show would you represent?

Image: Mystery Show / Fanfare.com

9. Hunt Snack Packs


Of course, you had to fill your lunch boxes with some canned pudding.

Image: theimaginaryworld.com

10. Floaty Pens


The first floating action pen was produced by the Eskesen company in Denmark in the 1950s. There was no cooler way to show off your summer vacation destination.


11. A plastic pencil case with a lunch money pouch


Naturally, you needed something to carry all these pens and pencils. Not to mention some pocket change.

Image: malibulizard / eBay

12. Scientific Calculators


Older kids needed a little more computational power than the Little Professor. Thankfully, fancy new calculators made math a little easier.

Image: radioshackcatalogs.com

13. Junior Typewriters


Kids today will never understand how carefully we had to type our book reports. No auto-correct here.

Image: wishbookweb.com

14. TRS-80 Computer


Of course, at the end of the decade the fortunate few could use a state-of-the-art computer — with cassette tape drive!

Image: radioshackcatalogs.com

15. Bellbottoms


Our ankles were breezy.

Image: pzrservices.com

16. All Denim Everything


Polyester, denim, corduroy — the holy trinity of 1970s fabrics.

Image: wishbookweb.com

17. Paint 'N Wear clothing


You could show off your artistic side thanks to denim spruced up with a Paint 'N Wear wardrobe decorating kit.

Image: wishbookweb.com

18. Cool sneakers


Mom or dad always had to take us to JC Penney, Sears and Kinney for some fresh footwear.

Image: Boy's Life Magazine

19. Mickey Mouse watches


There was no better way to count down the seconds before the final bell.

Image: wishbookweb.com

20. Pop Wheels


Roller skates hidden inside clogs! Now that's zipping home down the sidewalk in style.

Image: Style Pantry

21. Banana seat bicycles


For a fancier ride, you could cruise home on your chrome-covered, banana-seat bike.

Image: wishbookweb.com

22. A Ford Cruising Wagon


Well, when it came to truly cruising, older teenagers could flip enough burgers to save up and get this sweet ride.

Image: SenseiAllen / Flickr

23. Football helmet radios


After homework and TV, it was time for bed. We would tuck up and listen to Pablo Cruise on a nifty NFL radio. In the morning, we needed to find out the weather… and if we were lucky, there was a snow day.

Image: wishbookweb.com

24. Superhero pajamas


Dreaming was always more comfortable in some Star Trek or Hulk sleepwear. Then it was time to rise and do it all over again.

Image: wishbookweb.com

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


idkwut2use 41 months ago
As a 90s kid I strongly relate to at LEAST 9 or 10 of those. The rest we just had/have our own versions of. :3 Especially love floaty pens. And bellbottoms. And shoes with wheels. AND OMG, why can’t I find another watch like that “child-size” Mickey one?? I had one like that, where instead of the stupid cold metal touching you it sits atop fabric...such a great design, loved that watch. ;; Not as if you need one anymore anyway, but still...
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?