April 28, 2008

We've Come A Long Way, Childcraft?


Hi-larious. From the hippies to the CPSC to women's lib, the times in 1974, they were definitely a-changin'. Here are some items from the 1974-5 Childcraft catalog that I can't imagine seeing at a Toys R Us near you in 2008.

First up, the Let's Hunt Butterflies Naked Puzzle, complete with as much you-show-me-yours detail as In The Night Kitchen. Gender conservatives will be pleased to note that the boy's and girl's clothes are not interchangeable.


And speaking of gender, the Childcraft Ironing Board promises that, "The young 'mother' will find that ironing is a breeze," which leaves her that much more time to serve her man some tea, an important, exciting element of any "housekeeping play." As are knee socks.


"By combining these bridges, ladders, boards and sawhorses, children can create all sorts of active play equipment." There are pages and pages of this build-it-yourself playground equipment, made of galvanized steel pipe, mostly.


I love the hanging ladder. and the lawyer-proof attachment mechanism for the wood bridge. Remember, it's safer than playing on a construction site.



If the classic 40x40-in. hardwood Play Yard isn't big enough for you, Childcraft suggests the Porta-Yard, which "telescopes easily to any size, up to a 12-foot diameter."


The catalog makes a point that the Play Yard "meets all new FDA safety regulations." The Porta-Yard, uh, no comment.


Oh wow...vague memories of being in a Play Yard-like device surfacing. Trippy. As I recall, we used to have on that we used as a portable goat pen--you know, for shows--and I'd spend many happy hours in there playing with the kids.

From DTA

Yeah, we had the Porta-yard. Shoot, my folks may still have it. I remember many a pinched finger, mainly after the age that we were actually contained in the yard by my parents. We used it as a jail when playing cops 'n' robbers.

My parents also used a leash, which, if memory serves, was also used as a "car safety device."

Ah, the 70's.

I remember many fond memories of trying to lock my little brother's hands in the porta-yard, like hand cuffs in the bars. Ahhh good times.

Glad to see I'm not the only one whose fingers lived in fear of the portayard.

How in the world did we ever survive such dangerous toys?

[trick question, since the adults whose fingers were chopped off in their portayards now can't type. -ed.]

um, my parents had a porta yard for me and i still got all my fingers! it also made an excellent tool for keeping a monkey-like toddler away from the christmas tree (aka in home jungle gym with sparkly toys!) as evidencee by more than a few years of pictures of those first christmases.

on a related note, have you seen "don't eat the daisies" with doris day et. al.? she's the mother of 4 boys, the youngest being an escape artist so he has a play yard WITH A LID that they LOCK! hysterical. cracks me up that some gov. child welfare agency hasn't pulled that movie from circulation.

I am actually searching for one of these to move my ducks around the yard! Saw one at a yard sale and some lady grabbed it up before I could.

I'm looking for history of Childcraft Furniture and I'd love to know if you have more of this catalog, and also any earlier catalogs. I'm also looking for their original logo from 1954.

Any ideas where i can start to look for such things?

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