December 11, 2008

Back When I Was A Boy, We Built Our Own Damn Cribs!


As you may know, Google has begun scanning magazine archives, something which was apparently completely impossible until this year. Among the first batch are the venerable DIY bibles, Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. If it doesn't give you an inferiority complex ["when you're through welding, you can decorate it with turnings from your lathe!"], you could spend hours digging through this stuff. And you don't come out smelling like basement!

From the July 1951 issue of Popular Mechanics:

Feeling a need for functional improvement in run-of-the-mill nursery furniture, the editors of Popular Mechanics commissioned furniture designer John Bergen to work up something new and different, stressing comfort, safety, and maximum utility. At first glance, this attractive nursery ensemble looks much like other matching sets of juvenile furniture. But a second glance will reveal its many practical features--ideas that simplify baby care and provide extra storage space for clothes and toys. These features are incorporated in a gay circus design with plain lines that makes cleaning a pleasure and construction easy.
OK, a bit of oversell on the cleaning, and the gay is out, so to speak, but otherwise, this sounds like exactly the same thing parents-to-be would say today.

And except for our cabinetry skills, and the creation of the CPSC, and the emergence of China as a manufacturing powerhouse, and the--ok, so maybe it's not exactly like today, but don't you sometimes wonder where all the cribs with lids and screendoor mesh went?

Build Your Own Nursery Furniture, Part I, Pop Mech, Jul 1951 Part II, Aug 1951 and Part III, Sept 1951 [google via jj daddy-o]

1 Comment

Did you see the awesome letter on page 189 of September 1951? "Plywood Platform in Back Seat of Car Makes 'Traveling Playpen" for Child."

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