Paileontology: A history of the lunchbox



Hoppy Trails

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, another cowboy star was jealous. Roy Rogers wanted his own box, but Aladdin had turned him down with "one cowboy is enough."

So Roy saddled up Trigger and rode north to American Thermos in Connecticut, which also had been feeling slumping sales from its lunch box / thermos sets, and especially now with Aladdin's success. AT decided to do Aladdin one better by using bright, full-color lithography on all sides of the box instead of a decal on one face. They sold 2 1/2 million Roy Rogers & Dale Evans boxes in 1953, increasing their total sales 20% in one year.

Aladdin retooled and adapted full-lunch box lithography for their 1954 line. So did some newcomers, ADCO Liberty and Universal, as well as another old-style lunch pail manufacturer, Ohio Art (which a few years later, flush with lunch box profits, diversified into making toys including Etch-A-Sketch). The box wars had begun, as manufacturers scrambled to be the first to tie up rights to the hot new TV shows.

In 1962, Aladdin added another trademark feature: They stamped the designs into the metal, giving a bas relief, 3-D effect.