By Mary Bellis
The first metal lunchbox produced was the Hopalong Cassidy created by the Aladdin Company of Nashville in 1950. They made a blue and a red lunchbox with a four-inch decal on the front side. The profits from the new lunchboxes enabled Aladdin to build a new lunch box manufacturing plant. Their second lunch box design was the decaled Tom Corbett Space Cadet box made in 1952. The American Thermos Company introduced the first lithographed lunchbox in 1953, it had a Roy Rogers design. The Aladdin company then changed their lunchboxes to being fully lithographed instead of using decals, in 1954.
Metal lunchboxes were banned in the early 1970s, as a result of a campaign of "concerned" Florida mothers against the steel lunchboxes. Children being children, were using the metal lunchboxes as a type of weapon, cases of permanent head injuries were being reported. The state of Florida banned the sales of metal lunchboxes in 1972, and other states soon followed in the banning. Box makers switched from metal boxes to softer plastic boxes. The last steel metal lunchbox was a Slyvester Stalone's Rambo model, produced by KST in 1985.
Further Research - Lunch Boxes Exhibit - Land of Lunchboxes
Lunch Box Collectibles on the Net - written by your About guide to Collectibles, Barbara Crews.