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Lunchbox, Lindbergh, King Collection

National Air and Space Museum
A rectangular lunch box that shifts in color from yellow at the bottom to orange at the top. An orange handle is attached just below the lid in the center of the box. The lid is orange in color and hinged along one of the longer sides and features a black silhouette image of an airplane that resembles the Spirit of St. Louis. The four sides of the box are decorated with black silhouettes of figures such as a cowboy riding on top of a horse, three figures wearing Native American headdresses gathered around a teepee and fire, four children with a balloon and a small dog and a woman lying down on the stern of a boat with a square sail. The inside of the box is silver in color with rust and signs of wear.

On May 20-21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh literally flew into history when he crossed the Atlantic Ocean in his Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, thus becoming the first pilot to fly solo and nonstop from New York to Paris. This flight made Lindbergh a household name and catapulted him into fame and celebrity. The objects of popular culture in the National Collection display everything from ashtrays to wristwatches reflect the public adulation for Lindbergh and the powerful commercial response to his celebrity. More than 75 years after the Spirit's historic flight, Lindbergh's name still has the power help sell manufactured goods.

Lunchbox Kit, "Astronaut" and "Orbit"

National Air and Space Museum
This "Astronaut" dome lunchbox from 1960 holds an "Orbit" thermos bottle made in 1963, both made by King Seeley Thermos (KST). After KST had to withdraw "Orbit" from the market because some of its art had been copied without permission, the company paired the leftover bottles with existing boxes, creating this unusal kit that combines speculative ideas about wheeled space stations with drawings of actual Mercury capsules.

This lunchbox set has a special place in the National Air and Space Museum's history. It was the symbol of the Museum's "Lunch Box Forum," an informal series of weekly lunch time talks by Museum curators or invited guests speaking about aviation or astronautics. The Forum began about 1967 and lasted to at least 1978. Early on, one of the speakers, Dr. James B. Edson of NASA, donated this space-themed kit, which became the series' symbol; placing the lunchbox on the table signaled the beginning of the talk.

Lunchbox, The Exciting World of Metrics

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
The objects children take to school can communicate messages. In the 1970s, the U.S. government encouraged more general use of the metric units of weight and measure, units that had been adopted in almost all other nations. To teach children about metric units, some parents purchased this lunch box.

The lid of this metal box illustrates four things commonly measured with metric units (the output of power generators, the size of car and motorcycle engines, Olympic distances, and prescription drugs). The back shows decimal units of length, weight, volume, and temperature. One side shows the U.S. decimal currency, while the other shows natural phenomena associated with decimal units (the century plant, the centipede, and the millipede). The top has a scale of inches with their equivalent lengths in centimeters. The bottom illustrates decimal units of time.

The lunch box contains a blue thermos with a white rim and red cap. It holds eight ounces of liquid.

Lunchbox and thermos featuring Diahann Carroll from the sitcom Julia

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Metal lunchbox used by oysterman Ira Wright

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Robin Hood Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1956. The lunch box features imagery based on classic fairytale, Robin Hood. The images on this lunchbox seem to be drawn from the 1938 film, The Adventures of Robin Hood that starred Errol Flynn in the titular role and was nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.

National Football League Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This tin lunch box was manufactured by King Seeley Thermos in 1978. This National Football League lunchbox has a white plastic snap for a hinged lid and a collapsible white, plastic handle. This NFL box features images of several football players, including Tony Dorsett, Franco Harris, and Pat Haden on a stylized background.

Sesame Street Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This tin lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1983. The lunch box features colorful action scenes and characters from the television series Sesame Street. Sesame Street was created in 1969 and continues to this day. This lunchbox features Bert and Ernie, with Ernie’s famous rubber ducky, both walking in the rain.

Bobby Sherman Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunchbox was manufactured by Thermos in 1972. The lunch box has a color photo illustration of Bobby Sherman on the front and a biography on the back. This lunch box is an interesting example of marketing a teenage heartthrob to young girls. The lunch box is covered with hearts, and Bobby’s vital stats are listed so his adoring fans could get to know him better.

Green Dome Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal dome lunch box is painted green and has a collapsible hinged metal handle. The box was made by Thermos in 1941. A five pointed star is molded into each end of the dome lid. A wire bail for the thermos bottle is located inside the lid. The green painting of this metal lunch box is a departure from the plain metal boxes in earlier years, but still a step away from the licensed images that made lunchboxes a hot selling item.

Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Thermos in 1979. The box features imagery of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise. The Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise was the first shuttle that NASA built, but it never went to space. Instead it was used for approach and landing tests. The shuttle was originally going to be named the Constitution, but fans of the TV series Star Trek staged a write-in campaign and the shuttle was renamed after the show’s USS Enterprise NCC-1701. The shuttle now resides at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Laugh-In Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1969. The lunch boxes features imagery from the popular TV comedy show, Laugh-In. Laugh-In was a sketch comedy variety show that originally ran from 1968-1973 on NBC.

Julia Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Thermos in 1969. The lunch box features imagery from Diahann Carroll’s hit TV series, Julia which aired from 1968-1971 on NBC. Julia was applauded for its depiction of African-American life in a suburban setting, and this lunch box is notable for being the first depiction of a black woman on a lunch box.

The Fall Guy Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1981. The lunch box features imagery based on the TV series, The Fall Guy. The Fall Guy ran on ABC from 1981-1986. The show starred Lee Majors as Colt Seavers, a Hollywood stuntman who uses the skills he develops as a “fall guy” to create a secondary source of income as a bounty hunter.

The Magic of Lassie Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured in 1978 by Thermos. Lassie the faithful collie was originally created in 1940 by Eric Knight in the short story “Lassie Come-Home.” The novel was made into a 1943 motion picture of the same name, and starred the dog Pal in the lead role. Pal went on to star in several other “Lassie” movies and television series, and his descendants continued to play Lassie in subsequent movies and TV shows. This lunch box features imagery from the 1978 film The Magic of Lassie, starring Mickey Rooney and James Stewart.

The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This dome-shaped metal lunch box was made in 1977 by Aladdin Industries. The box features imagery based on the hit TV series, The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, which ran on NBC for two years from 1977-1978. The television series was based off of a 1974 feature film of the same name that was a huge success. The fictional character of Grizzly Adams was based off of the real man, James Capen Adams, a man who roamed the wilderness and tamed bears and other animals, often for P.T. Barnum’s shows.

The Partridge Family Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Thermos in 1971. The lunch box features images based on the musical TV show, The Partridge Family that ran on ABC from 1970-1974. The television show crossed over into musical success, as The Partridge Family Album was released in 1970, and sold over a million copies.

Thundercats Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1985. The lunch box features imagery based on the TV show, Thundercats, that ran in syndication from 1985-1987. The show was an exciting mix between fantasy, science-fiction, and mythology that recounted the adventures of the ThunderCats as they battled the evil Mumm-Ra on Third Earth.

The Waltons Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1973. The lunch box features imagery from the TV show The Waltons, which ran on CBS from 1972-1981. The Waltons was a huge hit, winning five Primetime Emmy’s in 1973, including the Emmy for Outstanding Drama.

Kung Fu Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Thermos in 1974. The lunch box features imagery from David Carridine’s TV series, Kung Fu which ran from 1972-1975 on ABC.

Dick Tracy Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1967. The lunch box features images from the cartoon serial, Dick Tracy. Dick Tracy is depicted speaking into his two-way wristwatch radio, a 1946 addition to the comic strip that became the Tracy’s signature device and captured the imagination of children everywhere.

The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1956. The lunch box features imagery from the Western show The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, which aired from 1951-1958 on both television and the radio. Bill Hickok was portrayed by Guy Madison, and was accompanied by his comedic sidekick Jingles, played by Andy Devine

Space: 1999 Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Thermos in 1974. The lunch box features imagery of the short-lived TV series, Space: 1999, which ran from 1975-1978 in syndication. In Space: 1999, an accidental explosion of nuclear waste stored on the moon propelled the moon out of its orbit and sent it hurtling through space sending the inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha looking for a new home and encountering adventures along the way.

Yogi Bear Lunch Box

National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
This metal lunch box was manufactured by Aladdin Industries in 1974. The lunch box features images of Yogi Bear, a popular cartoon character originally from the animated TV series, The Huckleberrry Hound Show. Yogi Bear became such a popular character, that he eventually got his own series of shows, focusing on his adventures in Jellystone Park trying to outsmart Ranger Smith and get his paws on those delicious “pic-a-nic baskets.” Interestingly, the lunch box features a back with a chalkboard.
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