July 13, 2008

From Ortho, Makers Of America's Favorite Herbicide, Comes America's Favorite DIY PoMo Cradle

When you're a dad-to-be with a nursery to outfit, the most important thing is to go with a name you can trust. That's why Ortho, a division of the Chevron Chemical Corporation, and the maker of Round-Up, America's favorite herbicide, created How to Design & Remodel Children's Rooms.


In 96 info-packed pages, Ortho's editorial team will show you how to plan, design, and make furniture for kids from ages zero to "Uh-oh, he needs to go! Better pull into that Chevron!"

If you can get past the WTF? Ortho Books? Chevron changing table? factor--and clearly, I can't, but at least it's amusing me--then some of the designs are not half bad. There's a changing tabletop, a storage cart, and a funky ziggurat-shaped table & chair set that could be tweaked into something nice. There's a kinda sweet crib/dresser, too, that converts to a toddler bed [I'll post that scan later.]


And there's this "enduring, classically styled" cradle, which either looks as fresh as you could get in 1988, when the book was published, or is a hopelessly post-modern product of its times.

And what times they were. When Baby Boomers turned to Ortho Books, not just for backyard advice on cultivating perennials, or building elaborate play equipment [pub. 1986, I'll get to that one, too], but for crib plans and toys, even insights on raising their kids. From the section on siblings sharing a room:

The temperaments of children, even though they are in the same family, may vary greatly...Teaching children to be thoughtful of others' belongings and cooperative about sharing space can go a long way toward keeping conflicts down to a minimum, but it won't necessarily eliminate them--sometimes a permanent, substantial divider is the best solution.
Anyway, the irony--or one of the ironies--of this wild brand mismatch is that Chevron later sold its Ortho division to the one industrial conglomerate even more incongruously associated with the circa 1980's American Dream, Monsanto. For Monsanto's all-plastic House of the Future at Disneyland, built in 1957, 1985 was the future. The company later dumped Ortho--but kept a hand in the Round-Up business--onto Scotts, the Miracle-Gro people. At the moment, there are over 300 search results for Ortho Books on Amazon, which seem to be going strong.

1 Comment

What is that, 3/4-inch plywood? Better be sure your floors are rated for that load. (That's what SHE said!)

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