Can you fit all your school supplies inside a cigar box?
Elementary school students in the 1960’s often used empty cigar boxes to corral the array of pencils, crayons, and more so they wouldn’t get shoved to the back corners of their desk’s storage area.
The problem was that unless you had a family member that smoked cigars, they could be hard to obtain and the designs were not so appealing to children, much less educational, bearing the logos for King Edward, Roi-Tan or Dutch Masters brands.
In 1967, Jane Foss Cline, president of the General Box Company of Waycross, Ga., had the idea that her company could modify the outside design of the branded cigar boxes they produced, and market them as actual school supply boxes.
Cline’s father, Orlando W. Foss, had created the hinged-lid box in 1938, specifically for the cigar industry’s packaging needs. He failed, however, to patent his design and soon it was copied by other box companies for the same use.
General Box’s early designs focused on images of school – smiling children walking to school, buses, chalkboards – with a printed label on the lid where students could write their name, school name, teacher’s name and classroom number. The lid also specified that it was “My School Box.”
Again, since the idea was not patented, General Box soon had competition from the Ginter Box Co. of Jacksonville, Fla., that produced their own school-themed designs, with the added feature that included the Pledge of Allegiance and the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner printed on the inside lid.
By the 1970s, multiple designs were being produced by both companies, often with images considered educational, but still notating that the box contained “My School Supplies” or “My School Things.”
This school box produced by General Box features a map of the 48 states, with Alaska, Hawaii and all the U.S. territories along the sides. A listing of all the state capitols and their two-letter state abbreviations is printed on the bottom.