Colourful stickers, rewarding good schoolwork

book of vintage stickers

I found this book of stickers in a little antique shop not too long ago, and gracious did it take me back! Right straight back to my very first years at Madoc Township Public School, in fact, when I was growing up at the Manse in Queensborough. In those days kids were given lots of classroom exercises to do on Gestetnered sheets of paper (remember Gestetners?) that the teacher would hand out: arithmetic exercises, spelling exercises, what have you. We’d all do your best and dutifully hand in our sheets, and the teacher would mark them and give them back. And if you’d done well, there would be a colourful sticker on the top of your sheet! And what a thrill it was to get one! (Okay, I am speaking for me here. I was a nerd.)

flower stickersQuite often the sticker was a simple star, with red and gold being the most popular colours, as I recall. But sometimes the teacher would have splurged (somehow I suspect teachers used their own money for stuff like that back then – as they probably do now) on a book of fancier stickers like the one I found in the antique store. You might get a flower sticker, or a puppy sticker, or a dinosaur sticker; and it was always exciting as the sheets were being passed out by the teacher to wonder what bright image might adorn yours.

So I was quite tickled to find a book of those same stickers, and of course I snapped it up because it was so nice to have this fun little piece of my past. But wait just a minute: it was in an antique store. Which makes me… well, let’s just say it makes me – vintage.

4 thoughts on “Colourful stickers, rewarding good schoolwork

  1. “…Gestetnered sheets of paper…”

    We didn’t really like them as they had a mildly repellent odour. On the otherhand, we loved “ditto-ed” sheets because of the methyl hydrate solvent. The first 5 minutes of a test or assignment was spent sniffing the ditto-ed sheets if they had just been run off by the teacher.

    One has to wonder if the methyl hydrate was harmful or not. Perhaps it is why some are a “few bricks short of a load”.

    • Graham, I confess I had thought the Gestetner and the “ditto” machine were one and the same. But for sure I remember the distinctive scent of the just-dittoed pages, when they were still a bit damp, as they were handed out to the class. I also remember the agony of preparing pages (for a school presentation) that had to be dittoed, and how if you made a mistake it could not be removed so you had to start all over again. Aarghh!

      • Here are the two Wikipedia pages that describes Gestetner [] and spirit [] duplication methods. The Gestetner method uses real ink and is intended for higher quality large production runs. The spirit method uses a solvent to transfer some wax from the stencil to the copy — it was more convenient for short and interrupted production runs but the print quality was also lower. I remember Gestetners being only black ink and don’t know if the use of other colours inks was an option. On the otherhand, I still have a spirit duplicator [a old hand-crank unit that has to be rotated twice for each sheet] and stencils of 3 different colours.

        For spirit duplication, notice the behaviour description in the last paragraph in the “Colors” section:

      • Thanks for those links, Graham. Man the photo with the Wikipedia entry on Ditto machines – of a 1970s school newspaper produced via that method – sure took me back in time…

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