Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Let's Cage Those Kids...!

Back in the days we often refer to as the "good ol' days" they had some pretty strange ideas.

Now we all agree that children need some fresh air from time to time, but this little invention might not have been the best way to accomplish that issue. See what you think.

The Shocking Baby Cage From 1937
By S. Grant on Thursday, July 24, 2014

They say that everything old is new again, but if there’s one thing destined to remain in the past it’s the 1937 baby cage. This disturbing contraption was designed to hang outside a window—even many stories up—so babies could crawl inside it and get fresh air. More astonishing than it being invented is the fact that it actually caught on and was used by a number of London mothers looking for a convenient way to get their little ones outdoors.

In 1930s London, lawns were scarce, cities were crowded, and apparently taking babies for walks was a hassle. Enter: the baby cage. With this wire enclosure, parents didn’t need to leave the house to give their children a healthy dose of sunshine and fresh air. The only problem was that the cage was suspended precariously off the side of a building.

The cage was originally patented in 1922 by American Emma Read, yet for whatever reason, it didn’t attract much appeal in the United States. But in 1937, the Chelsea Baby Club distributed the device to its London members as a way for the mothers to easily get their babies outdoors, even if they didn’t have a backyard or garden. Instead of immediately shunning the thing as an infant death trap, many parents slapped the cage on their apartment windows and left their children’s fate in the care of a handful of bolts and screws. Not to be outdone by the Chelsea Baby Club, London’s East Poplar borough council offered to attach the cages outside its tenement windows as well.

Although the patent had designs for versions with roofs, the most commonly used cages were completely open to the elements and susceptible to bird droppings and whatever projectiles neighborhood kids wanted to throw. There was, however, plenty of room for toddlers to sleep and play with toys, and they did indeed get some fresh air.

In the patent, Read describes the purpose of the cage by stating, “It is well known that a great many difficulties rise in raising and properly housing babies and small children in crowded cities, that is to say from the health viewpoint. With these facts in view it is the purpose of the present invention to provide an article of manufacture for babies and young children to be suspended upon the exterior of a building adjacent an open window, wherein the baby or young child may be placed.”

The baby cage eventually fell out of fashion—probably around the 1940s, when even the most lackadaisical mothers knew a little fence wire wouldn’t protect their child from the Blitz. Unsurprisingly, the cage never made a comeback.

I don't think this idea would be allowed in today's world, what with all of the "watch dog" agencies keeping tabs on nearly everything we do. This is probably not one of the safest ways to get some fresh air for junior, but it is an interesting idea. Pretty creative actually!

Coffee out on the patio this morning!


Tewshooz said...

mmmmm an outdoor play pen.

Anonymous said...

I've seen photos of that cage and found them on Google:

That was a long link :-) I'm so glad I grew up in an area where we had plenty of space to play :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!

Gorges Smythe said...

A parent could do like they used to when taking pigs to market, put them in a bag with course weave, so they can breathe and haul them around as needed. THAT should keep them out of mischief!

linda m said...

Interesting concept, however, not very safe. My mother used to put a playpen in the yard and put us in it when she would hang the wash outside.

Sixbears said...

How about teenagers? Can we cage them?

Coffee next to the woodstove, watching it rain outside.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Bubba -
Glad we were never put in a cage! Although I do remember (or is it only the story I really remember?)a quilt box hide-n-seek incident..
I never even had a play pen for my kids - just put them on the floor or ground, on a home-made quilt, of course!
Big hugs - talk to you soon about Mom's b-day ~

JO said...

Good Grief! but then it seems safer than the fire escape, maybe. But sometimes strong measures are needed with some kids.

Nice morning for the patio, a bit chilly here for now but it will warm up fast enough

Dizzy-Dick said...

Glad it fell out of fashion before any fell out of the windows.

HermitJim said...

Hey Tewshooz...
As good a name as any, I reckon!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Christer...
Many of us feel like that. We had lots of room to play outside as kids, Thank goodness!

I appreciate you coming over today!

Hey Gorges...
Sounds to me like it would work! Might draw a little attention though.

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Linda M...
Your plan seems to have worked just fine. I don't think we ever had a playpen.

Thanks for stopping in today!

Hey Sixbears...
That might take a lot bigger cage!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Sis...
That old quilt box was used in many games if I remember correctly.

Thanks, Sis, for stopping by today!

Hey Jo...
We never had a fire escape either! Guess we were always considered safe while crawling around on the ground.

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Hey Dizzy...
Yeah, it could have been the cause of some nasty falls had it come loose.

Thanks for stopping by this morning.