If you were under sixteen in the mid-eighties, you should remember these. The Trapper Keeper was a highly stylized type of three ring binder. They had a flap that folded over the opening and velcroed shut, color-coordinated plastic backbones, and, in later years, even matching colored loose leaf paper. They used to come adorned with endearingly corny designs of tropicalia or random shapes that looked like Bryce gone horribly wrong. On the ones I saw most recently, the non-commital cheesiness had been replaced with kid-targeted advertising.

Trapper Keepers were sort of the Swatches of grade school. There were always new styles available, and kids would go through two or three a school year. The novelty was a big part of the attraction.

Everyone seems to have forgotten the Trapper Keeper's nifty 3-Ring open/close mechanism.

Typical 3-Ring binders had two tabs at the top and bottom of the backbone that when flipped in opposing directions, the rings would snap open.

Not the Trapper Keeper.

The Trapper Keeper had a nifty little slide bar at the bottom of the backbone. When this slide bar was pulled down, half of the spine would slide away from the other half, pulling the rings apart. You'd load it up with looseleaf paper, and push the slide bar back in. It would lock with a soft click, and you were good to go.

Of course, this mechanism was prone to break, but the geeks in the crowd always managed to somehow repair it. (I impressed many a girl in my elementary school days with my slick trapper-keeper-3-ring-repair-technique.)

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