Can You Identify These Vintage School Supplies?

By: Jennifer Post
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Can You Identify These Vintage School Supplies?
Image: fcafotodigital/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Going back to school is such an exciting time, although it's also filled with sadness that the sweet days of summer are over. To help get over the initial dread of going back to school, a little shopping can help. New clothes, new school lunches and a slew of all-new school supplies help ease the pain. Nowadays, parents and students alike can hop on their devices and scope out stylish school supplies that will make them stand out among everyone else and help make them the envy of the halls. 

Buying school supplies in the good old days was a little bit different of a process. Shopping took place in an actual store, there weren't nearly as many options as there are now and there were those hot-ticket items that signaled you were really something if you got your hands on them. Lunch boxes with popular characters and superheroes adorned on the front were more popular than minimalist insulated bags that say "lunch" on them in a simple black print. 

If you get overwhelmed by the school supply shopping of modern times, maybe you'd do better identifying vintage ones! Take this quiz to see how many vintage school supplies you can identify. 

Trapper Keeper Which popular school necessity, shown above with its melodic name, was a staple in the '80s and '90s?
Trapper Keeper
The Trapper Keeper was not only considered a school supply but a status symbol. It was a hit in the 1980s and '90s but is actually making a comeback. You can buy today's version of it for your tablets and binders.
Book Binder
Paper Keeper
Cool Keeper

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book strap The vintage item shown above was a handy way to keep your books together. What is it?
Backpack
Book halter
Book strap
Books traps look exactly like belts but were used to keep books together before backpacks were created. These were used by students of the early 20th century and were easily hung over the shoulder.
Messenger bag

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Lepage glue Before Elmer's, which brand was used as the adhesive of choice?
LePage's
LePage's glue started in 1879 with the invention of industrial glue by William Nelson LePage. Shortly after that, the consumer version was created and became a staple on the school-supply list.
Titebond
Gorilla Glue
Wexford

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Lisa Frank design This brand of school supplies, with its psychedelic colors and animals of your dreams, was a must-have for all the it-girls in the '90s. What's the brand name?
Calvin Klein
Lisa Frank
Lisa Frank was the hot ticket item of the '90s, and there were a ton of items to choose from, like folders, book covers, pencil cases and felt coloring pictures. You can still buy the stuff today, but it might not look how you remember.
Anne Talbot
Juicy

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Yikes pencils These writing utensils with a retro-sounding exclamation name gave your school days style. What are they?
Gee-Wow pencils
Holy Cow pens
Yikes pencils
Yikes pencils came in different shapes, sizes, colors and patterns. They were a huge hit in the early '90s, and while you can still find original ones on eBay, they're not produced anymore.
Cowabunga markers

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Metal Lunchbox What is the fun and handy retro school item shown above?
Pencil case
Metal lunchbox
Metal lunch boxes and their matching plastic thermoses were all the rage for your lunchtime snack and sandwiches. They came in all of your favorite characters and brands, and the superhero ones were probably the most popular.
Eraser tin
Thermos

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Erasermate pens Making a mistake with a pen used to be the end of it, but the pens shown above made that a thing of the past. What pens are they?
Atlas pens
Fountain pens
Classic ballpoint pens
Erasermate pens
While they didn't work perfectly, Erasermate pens did get rid of enough ink to be able to correct your mistake and write again. These pens hit the market in 1979 and have been in use in some form ever since.

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Mr. Sketch Scented markers Which marker, pictured above, did you not mind holding up to your nose and taking a whiff of?
Mr. Sketch Scented Markers
Mr. Sketch Scented Markers were released in the mid 1960s, and not only did they smell good, but they were also great for coloring. They went away for a while, but have recently hit the market again, so you can pick your favorite scent and sniff away.
Crayola Color Wonder
Crayola Silly Scents
Juicy Fruit Markers

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Gel pens If you were giving your friends "tattoos" at recess, you were most likely using the shimmery pens shown above. What are they?
Sparkle pens
Gel pens
Gel pens were all the rage in the '90s and early 2000s but were actually brought to the U.S. in 1984 from Japan. Gel pens can still be purchased today, but think twice before drawing pictures all over your skin.
Permanent markers
Swirl pens

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pencil grip Holding pencils could get tiresome after a while. What cushy item shown above could help make it more comfortable?
Finger cushions
Pencil tape
Pencil grips
Pencil grips were all the rage at school stores. They came in various colors and lengths and jazzed up even the most basic pencil. They were made to help kids hold the pencil correctly so they could write more legibly.
Sticky erasers

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multi color pen What pens shown above, that you undoubtedly tried to use every single one of, made writing a lot more fun?
Crayon pens
Colored pencils
Gel pens
Multi-colored pens
The most fun part of these pens was trying to push down all of the color levers at once. Of course you couldn't, but it didn't stop anyone from trying. Multi-colored pens can still be found today and work much smoother than their vintage counterpart.

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Pencil toppers Who needed erasers when you had other, way cooler options, like the ones shown above?
Pencil toppers
Pencil toppers came in all kinds of weird characters and shapes but were all the rage with students who wanted to make their writing a little more interesting. You can still buy them on Amazon to bring some nostalgia to the school year.
Pencil hats
Eraser replacers
Wacky toppers

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Pop-A-Point pencils The type of pencil shown above doesn't need sharpening because of its individual pieces. What is this pencil called?
Piece pencil
Pop-A-Point pencils
Pop-A-Point pencils, still in production, make sharpening a thing of the past! When one runs low, you simply pop another one down in its place and you're good to go. If you manage not to lose any of them, these can last you a pretty long time. They also come in super fun colors.
Mechanical pencils
Push-up pencils

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Floppy discs Which document-saving method that comes with fun and colorful cases is shown above?
Flash drive
RAM
CDs
Floppy disks
Floppy disks, while not very floppy, were the chosen method for saving all of someone's school work. The disks themselves came in many colors, but they were also sold with colored cases that could set you apart from your friends, and also help you remember which disks were yours.

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Caboodles Shown above is a classic case for holding all of your stylish school supplies. What is it called?
Caboodle
Caboodles, while now primarily used as makeup cases, were once used as a school-supply case. They could hold pencils, erasers and stickers all in their separated compartments. They can still be purchased today!
Hotbox
Treasure box
Catch-all

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Little Professor Calculator The 1970s school must-have shown above couldn't play games, but you could write out classic calculator messages to your friends. What's its name?
Graphing calculator
Little Professor Calculator
The Little Professor Calculator came to popularity in the 1970s. It was made with children ages 5-9 years old in mind, and instead of solving the math problem input by a person, it would give the child mathematical prompts to answer.
Casio Plus
TI-84

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Scratch and sniff stickers This item was not so much a school supply as a fun thing, with a little surprise, to put on folders. What is it?
Puffy stickers
Hologram stickers
Scratch and Sniff stickers
Scratch and sniff stickers were sometimes used by teachers on graded quizzes, but students used them more. They would decorate their books, binders, folders and so on with the sweet-smelling stickers. Once the smell wore off, the picture usually did as well.
Polaroid photos

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Compass Need help drawing a perfect circle? The tool can help with that. What's it called?
Protractor
Ruler
Angle maker
Compass
Metal compasses were popular among students in the '70s and '80s, and it was a great tool for helping construct a perfect circle. You put your pencil in one end and use the other pointed end to mark the center of your circle.

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Binder reinforcements This practical school item prevented against torn holes and messy paper. Can you pick the correct item below?
Binder reinforcements
Bonder reinforcements were kind of boring but oh-so handy. They helped prevent the holes in your paper from being ripped out of the rings of a binder. They could be found in other colors, but white was the most inconspicuous and popular.
Folder separaters
Corner keepers
Bookmarks

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Book sox Textbooks don't usually have cute covers. The item shown above changed that. What is it?
Book sweaters
Book Sox
Book Sox came in all types of colors and patterns and even in a few different sizes. Their stretchy nature helped you go from book to book without tearing and could last through all of your middle-school years.
Cover tape
Paper bags

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Stamp markers The markers shown above weren't really used for writing but doodling. What are they?
Pop Tart markers
Color-changing markers
Stamp markers
Stamp markers were so fun to use but completely impractical for writing anything. They came in different colors and in shapes like spiders, hearts and stars. Kids in the '90s used them to create borders around notebook pages or to stamp on their friends' hands.
Blopens

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Slate writing Before paper, students used the above medium for writing. Can you remember its name?
Dry-erase board
Tack board
Quill board
Slate
Slates were, well, made of slate and used almost like chalkboards. These are what students in the mid-19th century used to take notes on before paper was in affordable, widespread production. There were different options like deluxe slate, quiet slate and book slate.

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Peechee folders This school item takes it all the way back to the 1940s and commonly showed kids of various ages playing games. What's its name?
Pee-Chee folders
Pee-Chee folders differed from other folders because the folder pockets were found on the side, as opposed to the bottom, of the folder. This prevented papers from falling out if the folder was accidentally placed upside down.
Archie folders
Athlete folders
Paper makers

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Hornbooks The earliest recorded school supply in history is shown above. What is it?
Pencil
Hornbook
Hornbooks originated in England around 1450 and mostly consisted of sheets of letters to practice the alphabet. In today's world, hornbooks are texts that give an overview of of a certain area of law and can be part of a much larger text.
Abacus
Projector rules

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Speak & Spell Before you were familiar with their calculators, you might have used one of their other educational tools, like the one shown above. Do you know what it is?
Discovery Kids
Leapfrog
Speak and Spell
The Texas Instruments Speak and Spell was used in the late '70s and early '80s as a way to help kids learn how to spell, as the name suggests. While this machine stopped being produced in the '90s, there are many apps out there that basically do the same thing.
Teach and Talk

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Typewriter Eraser Making mistakes on a typewriter usually meant starting over. But then, this jellyfish-looking product shown above came into market. Can you name it?
White Out
Do-over
Type Again
Typewriter eraser
Typewriter erasers do exactly what they say they're going to: They erase the mistake you've made on a typewriter. While typewriters are more of a nostalgic or collectible piece now, they were around from 1867 until the late 1980s.

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Scented erasers The '90s sure did have a thing for scented school supplies! Can you identify the one shown above?
Scented stickers
Scented erasers
Scented erasers were just another installment in the obsession with making school supplies smell good. Whatever the motivation was behind this movement, it seemed to work, as scented erasers were as popular as ever in the 1990s.
Scented pencils
Scented glue

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Mead Five star notebook The brand of notebook was one of the most popular, in part because of its variety of colors and sizes. What brand is it?
Mead
College-rule
Five Star
Five Star notebooks remain a staple for those who like to hand-write notes. Even thought that is few and far between, the paper is good quality, comes in college rule or wide rule lines and still comes in lots of colors.
Papermate

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Elmer's crazy scissors To make your art projects extra fancy, use the tool shown above. What are they called?
Cricut
Die-cut
Paper cutter
Elmer's Crazy Scissors
Crazy Scissors had all kinds of patterns on them that could jazz up the edges of whatever paper you were cutting. Whether it was for art class, a presentation in another class or scrapbook making, these scissors were a must-have.

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Ink stand You might not recognize this super vintage school item shown above. Can you figure out what it is?
Ink stands
Ink stands were used to hold canisters of ink for dipping quills into. This was a staple school supply before pens that we know today. The stands would come with space for red and black inks, as well as pen racks.
Pen holder
Cup holder
Gluestick stand

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Casio C-80 Calculator Watch Accessories like the one above helped kids get through math. What is it?
Smart watch
Calculator
Code watch
Calculator watch
The calculator watch was the hot ticket item of the 1980s and the best of the best had them. You can still purchase them to this day for a throwback, low-tech version of your high-tech smart watch.

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Hello kitty Which brand, pictured above with its animal face, adorned many school supplies and continues to do so?
Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty has been around since 1974, and the cat's face has been plastered on almost everything since then. Not only can you find it on clothes but also pencil cases, lunch boxes, notepads, laptop covers, etc.
Lisa Frank
Limited Too
Crayola

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Typewriter Before computers, students used the above for school work. Can you name it?
Printer
Math machine
Typewriter
The typewriter was around for many, many years. There were so many varieties of typewriters throughout their life, but they'd reached a more standardized design by 1910. They were used in school and homes alike.
Telephone

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JanSport Which trendy backpack, used to haul all of the school supplies, is pictured above?
Jansport
Jansport was THE backpack of choice for the cool kids in the '80s and '90s. They came in many colors, and many knock-offs hit the market for those who wanted the look, but not the price, of a Jansport.
Lands End
Eastpak
NorthPak

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Manually-operated pencil sharpener (with crank) Students wouldn't take this to school, but they would use it a lot. What classroom item is shown?
Globe
Pencil sharpener
Pencil sharpeners, before they were portable items students could store in their kits, were hung on the walls of classrooms. You would stick your dull pencil in the hole and spin the sharpener around, coming out with a point ready to write.
Pull-down map
Calculator

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Pencil box While now made out of plastic, in the 1960s, this school item was made out of cardboard. Can you identify it?
Ink keeper
Eraser container
Pencil box
Pencil boxes used to be made out of all cardboard back in their heyday. The cardboard versions can sometimes be found online, but they have been mostly taken over by their plastic counterparts, or just not at all.
Lunch box

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spirit duplicator Used to print materials but students and teachers in the 1960s, this machine is pictured above. What is it?
Printer
Cop machine
Fax machine
Spirit Duplicators
A predecessor to the copy machine, the Spirit Duplicator was a small printing press invented in 1923. These were used from the 1960s all the way up to the '80s and came with a very distinct smell, still remembered by students of that era.

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glitter glue Maybe the most '90s thing imaginable, the school staple shown above is what, exactly?
Glitter Glue
Elmer's combined two things that probably didn't need to be combined with Glitter Glue. You could use them in the same way as regular glue; they just added a little bit more pizzazz.
Puffy paint
Edible glue
Gel eyeshadow

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