In 1953, students used a variety of school supplies to complete their academic work. At the time, many of these school supply products were popular, innovative, and must-haves for students looking to get the most out of their education. Whether simple or complex, the 1950s had several different kinds of school supplies designed for use in the classroom.
Since the 1950s, America has come a long way when it comes to education, technology, and school supplies. Some of these vintage school supplies might look unfamiliar to you if you weren't a student in 1953. The out-of-date devices were helpful to students at the time, but today there are more handy inventions available to pupils who are pursuing an education. Other school supplies from this era might surprise you because you still use these items to this day.
See where inventors got it right and where they still had some work to do with their old school inventions by testing your knowledge with this quiz. Find out how many 1953 school supplies you can name by taking this quiz.
Before calculators, students used slide rules for help with adding, subtracting, multiplication and division.
Lunch boxes were all the rage in 1953. Many lunch boxes featured pop culture icons of the time, including comic book characters, cartoon characters, and celebrities.
Young students in the 1950s didn't usually use typewriters. These devices were more commonly used by higher education students and teachers.
Before electric pencil sharpeners and mechanical pencils, students used hand-crank pencil sharpeners to sharpen their devices. Often, they were secured on a wall.
Stick your pencil in this contraption and use it to draw a perfect circle. Compasses were a popular 1953 school supply. Today, compasses are still made for students to use. Modern compasses are sometimes made of plastic, while 1950s compasses were made of metal.
Before backpacks, there were book straps. Students would use book straps to keep their books from falling or opening when they were carrying them from school to home and vice-versa.
If a student made an error when typing a document on a typewriter, they would use a typewriter eraser. This unique device was specifically designed to work with popular typewriters at the time to erase mistakes.
When it was time for lunch, students would bring out their thermos filled with soup or a warm beverage. This school supply was sold separately or with a matching lunch box.
Erasers didn't always come at the end of pencils. To help students correct their mistakes, 1953 children would use erasers. Some students stored their erasers in metal tins, so they did not lose them or make a mess with their shavings.
Notecards were popular in the 1950s for jotting down notes and studying. Many students still use physical notecards today, even though notecards are available in a digital format as well.
Students in 1953 did not learn with e-books or tablets. Textbooks were the only way to read educational text related to academic courses.
Rubber stamps were used frequently to save teachers time and to help students express their creativity. Stamps are still used today, but not as often.
Ballpoint pens were a favorite writing tool for students in 1953, and they are still just as popular today. If you have a good one, try not to lend it because it may never get returned.
When students were given a book from school to take care of, they were asked to put book covers on them. Students are still asked to do this today. In the 1950s, much like today, individuals could either make or buy their book covers.
The desks of the 1950s often featured built-in chairs, making it easy for students to sit and write. Some modern desks are still designed in this way.
Lined paper was one of the most popular writing surfaces for students, and still is to this day. The lines help students stay neat, while the size was similar to writing tablets and textbooks of the day.
Pull- down maps were a practical and space-saving invention. A pull-down map allowed teachers to show maps to students without pointing to a wall or drawing on a chalkboard. Some older classrooms still have pull-down maps installed, but most teachers simply pull up a digital map to help their students learn about geography instead.
Since the 1950s, crayons come in a wider range of colors than ever before. They're just as common for children today as they were generations ago.
Chalkboards are an old-school approach to teaching, which was very popular in 1953. Teachers would write on chalkboards to help students receive a visual learning experience. Some classrooms still have chalkboards, but most modern learning spaces have white boards or smart boards.
Pencil boxes were popular for students who traveled to and from school and didn't want to lose their pencils in the process. Pencil boxes are still used today, but many students opt for bags instead.
Star stickers, also called gummed stars, were popular in the 1950s. Today, teachers still use these stickers or other types of decorative products to celebrate academic success.
Children used colored pencils in 1953 to create craft projects and art. Colored pencils are still a popular product to this day. Similar to pencils, this product is ideal for use on paper.
Protractors were the perfect tool for helping students draw and measure angles in their math classes. Today, students still use protractors for this exact purpose. Protractors of the past were made from metal, but today you can find protractors made of plastic too.
Globes were used in classrooms to help students learn about the Earth in a way that was to-scale and accurate. Today, globes can still be found in classrooms, but they are also commonly used for decoration and collected by antique enthusiasts.
Three-ring binders were a common way for students to sort their paperwork. The notable click of placing papers in the binder still ring out in some classrooms.
Many students in the 1950s used paste during art classes. Children also used paste to create class projects. Since then, paste has been replaced by various types of glues that are a little safer and easier to use.
When chalkboards were the most popular way for teachers to write notes for their class, chalk was the most popular writing tool. Today, dry erase markers and whiteboards are far more popular. Children still use chalk for drawing on sidewalks and playgrounds though.
Scissors are a safe way for children to cut paper. During art classes in the 1950s, round tip scissors were used to protect children when handling sharp objects. Scissors such as these are still used today.
In 1953, students would use wooden rulers for craft activities and math classes. Nowadays, the rulers are plastic or even an app on your phone.
During 1953 art classes, students were provided with watercolor paint. This water activated paint was easy for children and teachers to clean. It was also safe and fun for kids. Today, individuals still use watercolors in school and out of school.
Staplers are an old school invention that stuck around for generations. In 1953, students and teachers used staplers to keep their papers and notes together. Today, staplers are used for the exact same thing.
Paint brushes were a must-have in 1953. Students didn't have the option to create digital art, so they needed physical paint brushes to blend paints and apply paint to paper.
Before many students wore glasses, magnifying glasses were used to help students read. We still use magnifying glasses today, but not as frequently and usually not while we read. We have reading glasses for that today, after all!
Paper clips were an ideal way for students and teachers to attach papers together. Paper clips are just as popular now. Modern paper clips come in various sizes, colors and shapes. Paper clips of the past are collectible, and most are made of metal.
Bookmarks were invented all the way back in the 1800s, but they're still handy today. Before students could bookmark their favorite academic website, they used bookmarks to save their place in textbooks.
When it came to transporting paints and paint brushes, paint boxes were ideal for artistic students. Paint boxes aren't used as often anymore, but you can still find some modern paint boxes on the market if you need to get your paints from here to there.
Index tabs and binders went hand-in-hand in the 1950s. These tabs would help students organize and label their paperwork. Students would use binders to store paperwork for various classes, so these index tabs would allow students to separate and label their homework easily.
Pencils are an early invention that is still used today. They are an ideal writing tool for students because lead can be erased from paper. If a pupil made a mistake when writing with a pencil, they could easily fix it.
Writing tablets were used to help students write in the 1950s and earlier, but today's style of writing is done on paper or computers.
Erasers were the only way students could fix the mistakes they made when writing with a pencil. Since many pencils did not come with erasers, students carried a separate eraser with them. To prevent themselves from losing the eraser or letting the shavings make a mess, children would store their erasers in metal tins.