The Trapper Keeper, 1978

Erin McCarthy takes us through the history of the Trapper Keeper, the brightly-colored binders that made the Mead Corporation $100m a year.

“It was that weird thing where having a knockoff was worse than having nothing at all,” Ryan, now a senior writer at the Huffington Post, says. “Being the new kid, this was strangely devastating.” He would eventually get the real thing—bright red, with red, green, and blue folders. “It didn't make me cool, but at least I felt like I was conforming. Which, at that point, is all I had hoped for.”

You can still buy the real thing, but youngsters won't judge you anymore if you get a copycat.

Notable Replies

  1. NickyG says:

    It's insane that they still don't sell 80s-style Trapper Keepers with the plasticky feel and illustrations of unicorns and fast cars on grids of laser beams that extend to the horizon, and such.

    Better yet, come out with a line of iPad cases in Trapper Keeper 80s style. YES.

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