The earliest ones were made out of cardboard:
A handy instruction sheet guided the builder through construction of the "file":
Thanks to a team name insert that came with it, we can date this one. You could pick your sport with this variety, although I have seen some with "Football: across the top:
The sticker stock is exactly that-stock:
The top row has been excised and the full array is 26 x 4. In column three you will see Capital Bullets sticker. That particular appellation applied in only one year: 1973-74. There is also a sticker for The Kansas City-Omaha Kings in the same column. That moniker was used in 1972-73 through 1974-75; ABA teams are also included asTopps included them in their basketball sets of the era. In addition, take a look at the font used for the San Diego Padres compared to the examples above and below. It's a rush job based upon the thickness of the font and inexpertly erased lines between the letters in "Padres" and I have to think the sheet was intended to have the name of the team after they would have moved to DC, except that never happened:
None of the other entries on the sheet look like that, so did that sticker originally say "Washington, Nat'l League"? I feel quite comfortable dating this to 1974 based upon the above and these side panels on 1974 wax packs:
This is a little easier to read:
Notice how the baseball version mentions room for 24 teams while the Football panel makes it 26. I don't have an interior shot but there must be 26 cubbies within.Two bucks was pretty good scratch back then for a young collector.
By 1978 Topps has moved to a vinyl locker and dubbed it "super":
I get 30 slots. You can see a sticker sheet was included as well with the Super Sports Locker. 1978 Wax wrappers had side panel ads for these:
Topps really pushed the envelope with a $4.75 premium-yikes!
Now when I was a kid, I had a locker as well but it was a third party production:
That one actually had the team names permanently embossed inside if I recall correctly. There was a green version as well. Definitely not Topps as it was made by Lakeside Toys, but full of cards when I was a wee one. Lakeside made all sorts of cool things back in the day and while not quite the exciting, carefree and semi-dangerous products produced by Wham-o, they were awesome nonetheless.