Why Did The Policeman Cross the Road?

By Stevyn Colgan

Not so much police intelligence as intelligent policing

Thursday, 24 September 2015

But did it cure a fear of heights?

My good chum Chris Wild - better known these days as The Retronaut - first brought these delightful inventions to my attention. As problem solving solutions go - not one of the best.

'In the late 19th century, doctors began recommending that parents in urban apartments regularly expose their children to fresh air', he writes. 'It was believed this would strengthen the child’s immune system and increase her general health and vigor. While physicians such as Dr. Luther Emmett Holt advised simply placing an infant’s basket near an open window, some parents took it a step further.

Eleanor Roosevelt, who by her own admission “knew absolutely nothing about handling or feeding a baby,” bought a chicken-wire cage after the birth of her daughter Anna. She hung it out the window of her New York City apartment and placed Anna inside for her naps — until a concerned neighbour threatened to report her to the authorities.

The first commercial patent for a baby cage was filed in 1922 by Emma Read of Spokane, Washington. The cages became popular in London in the 1930s among apartment dwellers without access to backyards. Ultimately, their popularity declined.  It is possible that this was connected to safety concerns.'

Really? You think?

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Comments

Mark Vent
 Mark Vent says:

I'd be interested to know if there were any reported 'incidents' with these cages - I can imagine a non-potty trained child in a raised meshed cage might have resulted in a few unfortunate err 'showers' (or worse :/ )

posted 25th September 2015

Pat Harkin
 Pat Harkin says:

I wonder if there were any accidents with properly fitted units. They strike me as being safer than a standard balcony as seen on a lot of flats these days!

posted 29th September 2015

Stevyn Colgan
 Stevyn Colgan says:

Mark, Pat - Good points both. As you say, well-built cages would probably have been safe (if terrifying) but I'm not so sure about the fresh air aspect in those far off days of lead-laden petrol fumes ...

posted 1st October 2015

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