We were like little engineers back in the day, if you think about it. A little whitener for ink pens, the shoe polish for assembly time and that geometry box batman-utility set… just some of the little treasures that used to make us feel so cool. No smartphones or iPads; our pleasures and hopes were simpler. These little pieces of equipment gave us – the ’90s school kids – memories that kids of this generation will never experience.  

Here are 16 school supplies from the ’90s that are going to take you back to the good old days.

1. The geometry box

That diabolical little thing that we always carried in our bags except for that one class when we actually needed it. Remember how you had to wait for your turn if you were borrowing your friend’s?

2. Those rectangular school bags

Not like the vertical ones we sling on one shoulder these days. These would get stuck if you were trying to navigate through a narrow lane. But with the number of books we had to carry to school, we really required these mammoth-sized school brief cases!

3. The brown cover papers and labels

Origami at its best, ladies and gentlemen. Covering notebooks with the prescribed brown covers was not just compulsory, it was an art. Most ’90s kids probably remember the evening before the first day of school when a good few hours were spent into covering, tagging and then naming the labels on the notebooks.

4. The pen-pencil

Another little almost useless thing that the cool one had. Clearly lazy kids don’t want to waste time sharpening pencils, hence the aptly named pen-pencil came along. It looked like a pen and behaved like a pen, but it was a pencil. A pencil with the weakest damn nibs they could make. But hey, at least we felt cool doing it. 

5. Sharpeners 

What was it about these little things? Just making our pencils go round and round until the lead couldn’t be any more sharper. 

6. Ball pens

Hold up. This was definitely no joke. Our initiation into borderline adulthood was the inclusion of pens. Were you a Reynolds person or a Rotomac person? 

7. Gel pens

V7 Pilot Hi-Tech Point… do these words ring a bell?

Honourable mentions: Add Gel, Cello Pointec and Uniball.

8. The ink pens

Move over ball pens and gel pens, ink pens were like the pens of royalty. All of us had our major blunders ink pens (mostly fountain pens made in China) and the ink pots and the damn spills they almost always created. Happy days!

9. The ink eraser

This little useless thing was something we all had despite the fact that it pretty much never worked. Little did we know that when they said it can erase ink off of paper, they meant that it’ll pretty much rip it off. No paper, no ink, right?

10. Ruler

I think we got hit/threatened with these more than we actually used them to draw straight lines. How was it that one of these damn things was always at one-arm distance whenever a teacher/parent decided to instil some discipline in us?

11. White shoe polish

The braver ones used chalk to hide the filth that would become of their canvas/PT shoes. But, the rest of us had to toil through the pain of painting our shoes with the kiwi shoe polish. Dip and roll onto the shoes. A messy affair, but a fun one nonetheless.

12. The double-decker pencil box

Of course, that Batman utility geometry box set wasn’t enough. You remember the kind of major stuff that we used to do back in school. A pencil box with a simple compartment is just not enough for a dozen pencils, erasers, spare pens, rulers, sharpeners and whatever the hell else. This is war.

13. The Milton water bottle necklace

‘Cause even bling should have served some purpose. Water bottles were too cumbersome to carry around in any case, so a strap to hang it around your neck just made sense. 

14. The multiple compartment lunch box

With the heat resistant container that it came in, this nifty box could easily hold a whole meal course in it, including dessert. And if you were into your food enough at the time, opening each little container in the lunch box set was kind of a mystery to what it would hold. What our friends had got was just as intriguing.

15. The whitener

Whiteners were a must, because striking off an error in your copy wasn’t allowed back then. You would have to whiten it out, wait for it to dry and then write over the dried paint like nothing ever happened. Easier said than done.

16. Fevicol

Remember art and crafts period? How would we ever have survived those without Fevicol? And in case you didn’t have Fevicol, you had to use that sticky gum in the blue bottle that the school provided.

Kids nowadays will never know the joy.