Pocket Pride

Photo by John A. Pojman

I bought my first pocket protector in 2001 from the American Chemical Society, of which I am member. I started collecting seriously in 2004, purchasing pocket protectors on eBay. My collection survived Hurricane Katrina. Although our house in New Orleans had 7 feet of water, the collection was on an upper floor. During our exile in Baton Rouge, I spent part of every day searching for pocket protectors. Last year I scanned the entire collection and put them online.

My favorite pocket protector is one made from alligator skin that I had custom made. Other favorites are ones from NASA because I worked on NASA-funded research for many years and supervised an experiment on the International Space Station.

Pocket protectors appear to be a uniquely American contribution to fashion. I have yet to meet anyone outside the US who has heard of them, let alone seen one. I do have a NAPA auto parts pocket protector in Japanese.

Once I wore a Hilti (maker of drills and chemical anchors) pocket protector to a Hilti facility in Germany. My hosts thought it was some new type of name badge that was given to visitors and had never heard of a pocket protector. Apparently, mine was from the US division.

Some people have suggested that pocket protectors encourage a stereotype of science as a male profession, but my students have no such reaction. Most of them have never seen one before. They just find them quaint and a bit odd.

Photo by John A. Pojman

See the whole collection. This story originally appeared in LAB Magazine.

John A. Pojman is a nerd in Baton Rouge and a geek for pocket protectors because he claims to have the world’s largest collection. pocketprotectors.info