Monday, October 11, 2010

Ye olde Spokane baby cages

Posted on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Picture this: Your baby keeps fussing about wanting to go outside, but you live in an apartment building in a crowded city several stories above the ground, with no yard or play area to speak of. How on earth are you going to ensure "proper ventilation" for your child?

Why, suspend him in an outdoor cage off your window, naturally. This, anyway, was the brilliant idea (brainchild?) of Emma Read, a Spokanite who filed a patent for "Portable Baby Cages" in 1922. The cages, which look like nothing so much as aviaries for infants in the patent diagrams, were designed to provide an "article of manufacture compris[ing] a housing or cage, wherein the baby or young child together with proper toys may be placed.

“The baby is able to receive fresh air through the screen or fabric, and it will be noted the baby has sufficient room or space for playing with toys." Basically, it's a fancy legal-ese way of saying "I want that child out of my house!" without the indignity of your neighbors seeing you plop an infant outside your doorway.

The patent, which is available here, gives you a pretty good explanation of how to build your own, should you desire. (The photo above doesn't look to be a "true" baby cage, but it's the closest thing I could find). Father's Day, baby cages … clearly, Spokane is the cradle of good parenting.

Image credit: Life Magazine. H/T: The Atlantic.

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