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The Trapper Keeper was a well designed binder and folder system that could organize up to six subjects worth of school materials. But Trapper Keepers didn’t work their way into the hearts of America’s youth with angled pockets or intelligent modular design. From Lisa Frank covers to the stickers and doodles students added on their own, The Trapper Keeper brought fun and individuality to the often-drab world of school supplies.

In this episode of Throwback, Erin (@erincmccarthy) traces the surprisingly windy road that led to three-ringed glory…or at least to a sweet binder with a picture of Sonic the Hedgehog on the front. She makes a detour to discuss some other high-water marks in recent school supply history, from scented Mr. Sketch markers to those tiny little erasers shaped like animals.

Throwback is a new series from Mental Floss where we take a deep dive into some of the most fascinating stories behind the toys, trends, and events you might remember from your childhood. This episode is all about one of our favorite school supplies from the 80s (even though it technically came out in the 70s).

For even more Trapper Keeper facts, check out Erin’s piece on the Mental Floss website, The History of the Trapper Keeper:

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