The Trapper Keeper, 1978

This is such a great topic. I remember I had a Trapper Keeper and I badly wanted a TRON one, so I … made it myself. I taped a TRON promotional book cover of some kind over my TK.


A] they missed a perfect promotional opportunity not using TRON graphics
B] going by what little I know of you, i can totally see you doing that as a kid.
did the other kids notice? what was the reaction?

Aw yeah. Good times.


Man, Google Images takes me right back to seventh grade. I can smell the ditto ink from here.


My mod Mead notebook, circa early '70s (5th grade). It was padded and glossy.


Yessss I remember this one, and how the super-cool thing in the early 90’s was the psychedelic GCI graphics. I wonder if that was kind of a spin off of Mondo.

I was still in school in 1978, but I guess Trapper Keepers hadn’t been around long enough to become a “thing.” Or maybe more of a thing for younger kids.

But even if they were a thing . . . we were a “thrifty” family.

My dad was a school teacher. At the end of the year, the students in his school would empty their lockers. Dad would pick up the most intact-looking notebooks and binders and bring them home for us. The designs were really varied. Most would just have a few pages of notes, and some doodles about KISS, and stoner-kid paeans to cocaine and pot. Later I used these to collect notes about RPGs and designs for board games and computers games. I bet I still have a binder from those days in my collection of Traveller campaign stuff.

I guess if I’d been in high school later I’d have my choice of scribbled-in Trapper Keepers to bring to school.


So they are basically a mix between filofax and ring binder? Or am I missing something?

Over here, the big thing was “what kind of fountain pen” or “what kind of Randoseru”.

Tell me about it. I wouldn’t describe the attitude as “competitive” per se, but I was a left-hander, and my mother bought me a spiral notebook with the spirals on the right-hand side of the page. I got so much flack about it I finally just tore the pages out and used them as loose-leaf paper.

I thought being left-handed was a pretty cool thing, but after that I kept that belief to myself.


This is so sad, but my daughter is a great student and she gets all into her school supplies, which I happily indulge her in because she actually does use them. But, I am a Trapper pusher because of this whole thing we all remember of them being the in cool thing. Every year when she is picking out folders, I’m all like, “Don’t you want a Trapper?” and she looks at all the options and sometimes she likes the design but mostly she does not and she prefers just the regular style folder with a cute design. It’s weird, but then I feel kind of sad she did not get the Trapper.


I rocked that rad design. I don’t remember throwing it away, so it’s probably somewhere in my boxes of crap that I keep moving around from when I left the nest. I wonder if my kids would use it lol!

No fart clouds?


There was a phase at my grade school where the $1.50 fancy pencil machine became the focus of severe socio-economic competition. If you weren’t buying all your pencils from that thing (and I was buying none of my pencils from that thing … which was obvious because my pencils were not holographic or cartooned or what have you) then it was very clear that you were social scum. (Also a major necessity during this time period: A massive collection of novelty erasers. I didn’t have those, either.)

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Wow really? Am I the only one who has never seen a trapper keeper because my entire school life they were banned? Maybe it’s a Seattle thing but nobody I knew ever used one because we weren’t allowed. Im 31 for contexts.

And then they invented the EraserMate.

For me it was pencils from the school store (particularly trying to get every NFL team), and either the crumbling gummy eraser or a silly putty like one. Oh, and the monsters you could get and put on the back of your pencil.

I don’t remember it getting too bad, but I remember saving up specifically for the one day every week we stopped by the school store. I think the real pressure was just to buy something more than anything specific.

I feel your pain. Literally.

Fortunately, I was such a nerd that no one even noticed I wrote in normal spiral notebooks from the back side forward.

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yeah, i use my spiral notebooks back-to-front.

in the 7th grade, I had an epiphany over the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus” and turned the cover of my yellow folder into an illustrated lyric sheet. under each line of lyrics I made little cartoons illustrating the images described: a girl climbing the Eiffel tower, a large revolver followed by a winged pig running away, etc. In the 8th grade, I used my red folder to catalog the X-Men, present team through original team (this was when Longshot was the newest member) with minimal, one-point-perspective doodles. I would literally kill to have them today.

ditto ink would clump up and flake off the page and stain everything purple.


Hey, I never said Google Images had pictures of my own PeeChees. Those are long vanished 'neath the sands of antiquity.

But nonetheless, there are a helluva lot of PeeChee folders in Google Images. There’s gotta be some fart clouds in there somewhere. I’m simply not all that original.