If you’ve ever been in a 3rd grade math class, bought a backpack, or had to lug around a heavy textbook, you’ll love this story...
Let’s take a trip to the west coast where the waves are massive, the summers are hot, and the winters are rainy. It’s the mid 1960’s and a guy named Murray has an idea for an adjustable aluminum backpack frame. Murray teams up with his cousin Skip, a fellow outdoor lover, but all they have is a frame. They need to take that frame and turn it into an actual bag but, neither of them have a clue how to sew. But wait…they know a person. A gal. Murray’s girlfriend, Janis. But (plot twist) she doesn’t want to help. In order to convince Janis to get in on the action, Murray makes the promise of all promises. If she helps, and the company is successful, they will name the company after her. Oh yeah, to sweeten the deal, Murray also promises to marry Janis if everything works out (yikes).
It turns out that everything went pretty well. In the late 1960’s, Murray Pletz married Janis Lewis and the backpack company got a name - JanSport. A true love story right? Wrong (this is Freshly Squeezed, not the Notebook). The marriage didn't last (shocker), but the JanSport logo can still be seen on the bookbags of students on their way to class.
Speaking of class, apparently there was a point in American history when students carried their books in their hands (who knew?). Luckily, a few Wash U students needed to keep their books dry from the relentless Seattle rain and discovered the trendy JanSport bags of the 70’s. That was the birth of the “Day Pack” as we know it.
What I’m really trying to say is this: those cool JanSport backpacks that we see all over the place were popularized by a bunch of college hippies playing in the rain like 50 years ago.
**Here's their website.
**Read more FS Stories here.
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