These ‘90s School Supplies Don’t Exist Anymore

Things come and go with each generation, so it’s not at all surprising that a lot of our favorite ‘90s school supplies don’t exist anymore. After all, who needs color-changing markers and wacky pencils when you’ve got tablets and all sorts of other high tech devices? Still, though — I can’t be the only person out there who learns better when I write things by hand, and as such, I think it’s kind of a shame that a lot of these ‘90s hits aren’t around for the younger generations to take advantage of.

Of course, many of the school supplies we used and loved in the ‘90s are still around — Mead Five Star, for example, and of course Trapper Keeper, which has had something of a renaissance in recent years. Many more, though, are no longer in production; indeed, it’s difficult even to find an old picture of some of them online, let alone a firm record of their existence. But hey, at least a few of them are still available on sites like eBay; you can go ahead and grab ‘em if you’re feeling dedicated enough (and have a little extra cash to burn). I know myself well enough not to bother, though; I would just hoard them, fearing ever to use them because OH! THE HORROR! of these almighty objects no longer existing in the world.

That doesn’t mean I can’t still spare a thought for them every once in a while, though. Here are 11 of my favorites. Farewell, friends; I have hopes that one day we’ll be reunited in the great beyond.

Or… something.

1. Yikes! Pencils

I never, ever started a school year without the latest edition of these wacky, multi-colored pencils in my possession. Why bother with a regular ol’ yellow number two when you had these as an option? Bonus points if you had a multi-colored eraser or that wacky pencil sharpener, too. Apparently they were discontinued around 1999.

2. Spacemaker Pencil Boxes

Sure there are plenty of things like Spacemakers on the market; after all, they were really just clear plastic containers with a snap-on lid. But I’ve been unable to find an actual Spacemaker anywhere but eBay, which suggests that they’re out of production these days. Whomp, whomp.

3. Pencil Trolls

I actually have hope that these little guys will make a comeback — after all, there’s a Trolls movie set to hit cinemas in November. Fingers crossed!

4. Crayola Magic Scent Crayons

Crayola was the be-all, end-all of classroom (and home, for that matter) art supplies for me. They came out with tons of neat gimmicks in the ‘90s, too, including these suckers — they were kind of like the crayon equivalent of our beloved Mr. Sketch markers. I still remember how the rose and pines ones smell — like a slightly waxier version of their namesakes. Or at least, a waxier version of the car air freshener incarnation of their namesakes.

5. Pentel Milky Pens

Sure, you can get a hold of other milky pens — but the Pentel ones we fueled our weird '90s collecting habits with are no more.

6. Land’s End Collegiate Backpacks

This was my backpack of choice throughout elementary school, largely because the panel in the front had a zillion little organizational pockets in it. (I loved organizing things. I was also an intensely bizarre child.) Unlike other backpack staples like L.L. Bean or JanSport, though, this one is sadly no longer available. In fact, it is so unavailable that it's impossible to find a picture of it. Ah well. I’ll always remember you, diamond monogrammed Land’s End backpack. Always.

7. Old School Mr. Sketch Markers

The ones in the cardboard and Styrofoam package, where yellow was lemon-scented and light blue was mango. These days, they come in a plastic box, and the aforementioned markers are banana- and fruit punch-scented.

I miss the good old days.

8. The American Girl Gear Planner

I repurchased this planner time and time again, particularly during my middle school years; I liked that it had the organizational powers of the Mead Five Star one I’d been using previously, except that it came in fun colors and included a sheet of stickers. I remember using the purple and turquoise ones the most, but I’m pretty sure it came in fuchsia, too. There was way more to the American Girl catalog than just the dolls.

(OK, yes, I realize that is a GIF of a Trapper Keeper; however, not unlike my beloved Land's End backpack, it's pretty much impossible to find a picture of this particular planner online. Seriously. It's like it never existed. Except that it did. I know it did.)

9. Crayola Changeables Markers

These? I loved these. Each marker drew in one color, but if you scribbled over your original drawing with a seemingly clear marker, it changed the ink into a totally different color. It was like magic, and I will never, ever stop wishing I still had a box of them. Alas, like the Magic Scent Crayons, they no longer appear on the Crayola website, implying that they have long since dropped out of production.

10. Plastic Thermos Brand Lunch Boxes Adorned With Your Favorite Characters

OK, yes, you can definitely still get Thermos brand lunch box sets, and like their predecessors, they’re still pretty rad, But there’s something about the boxy, white-handled, plaster versions of my youth that somehow hit the nostalgia buttons in a way that today’s incarnations don’t. I’m guessing the same is true for generations prior to mine with regards to the old metal lunch boxes. You can still find ‘em on eBay, of course, so hey, go ahead and treat yourself if you feel like it.

11. Vintage Lisa Frank

The current state of Lisa Frank is somewhat ambiguous; it’s certainly no longer the monolith it was in the ‘90s, but you can still find some of the newer designs fairly easily. Not so the folders and stickers that shot our childhoods through with color, though. Sigh.

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Images: Fotolia