There aren't many famous boxes. Most boxes are quietly anonymous. Whether humble or ornate they live among us with little notice except by their owners and/or makers. However, a few famous boxes hit our imagination in such a way that they stick with us.
Pandora's Box (which was actually a jar, but let's not stand on ceremony) is one such case. It has entered our mythology and is well known. In this case it's not the box as much as the symbolism behind it which is famous.
This was a box that was not to be opened and it has come to represent our hidden desires which often get us into trouble. When we say someone has opened a Pandora's box we mean trouble which can't be stuffed back inside and hidden away.
This is what Pandora's "box" might have looked like, although, as a myth, it's hard to know for sure.*
Shaker Boxes are another example of familiar boxes. They are simple and beautiful. These popular boxes were (and still are) elegant and take their beauty from their shape. (They are also lots of fun to make.)
Their characteristic shape and style are familiar to many people. Shakers were not the first to make bentwood boxes, but they put their own stamp on them and popularized them to the point we still associate this particular style with the Shakers.
Thomas Jefferson designed a compact and useful lap desk. It is said that he used it when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. The original now resides in the Smithsonian.
Below on the left is my version of the original Jefferson desk** pictured on the right.
I'll add other boxes to this list as I have time. If you have a particular one you'd like me to add contact me with details and I'll add it to this page.