Pocket protector

thumb|right|A_pocket_protector_promoting_the_Linux operating system.] A pocket protector is a sheath designed to hold writing instruments and other small implements, such as slide rules, while preventing them from damaging the wearer's shirt pocket (e.g., by tearing or staining by a leaky pen). The pocket protector is designed to fit neatly inside the breast pocket of a man's shirt, and may accommodate pens, pencils, screwdrivers, small slide rules, and various other small items. A flap overlapping the pocket exterior helps to secure the pocket protector in place.

Originally manufactured in the late 1940s and fashioned from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), pocket protectors were first marketed toward corporations as branded promotional fare. However, a more general market for the product soon arose, comprising students, engineers (prominently mechanical), and white-collar workers in sundry fields. Demand for the product fluctuated for decades, and finally plummeted during the 1980s in the face of growing social stigma and stereotypes (that of their wearers being nerds). The use also declined because pens had advanced to a point where they rarely leaked at all.

Postmodern culture still harbors a niche market for leather and PVC pocket protectors, and the product survives as "ironic" fashion, functional wear, or both. The pocket protector is most notable for its iconic value in the "Nerd" or "Geek" stereotype of North American folklore.


* Slatalla, Michelle. [http://www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/history_center/pocketprotector.html "History of the Pocket Protector."] "New York Times" 24 June 1999.
* Smith, Hurley [http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=2417786 US Patent 2,417,786] -- "Pocket Shield or Protector" 18 March 1947.
* Pojman, John [http://pocketprotectors.info Webseum of Pocket Protectors]
* Madea, Jeanette [http://www.ieee.org/web/aboutus/history_center/pocketprotector.html Hurley Smith's Pocket Shield ]

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