– Many children and husbands used to return home for lunch so a box wasn’t really needed. That being said, in the late 19th century, metal cigar boxes were re-used to put in a bottle of water and snacks for the walk home. (Side note: Since I grew up in Malaysia, our school had no air-con and we were dismissed at 12:30. I never had a lunch box until I was in high school and we switched to a more modern building.)
– Then came television and it all changed.
– Aladdin Industries produced the first metal lunch box aimed at children. They slapped a decal of Hopalong Cassidy on it, a popular TV character, and sold 600,000 of them almost overnight! If you want to buy one today, be prepared to spend $550.
– 1972 a group of Florida parents, concerned about safety, brought about legislation to restrict the use of metal boxes. Plastic ones took their place even though metal ones were still made until 1987.