Weird History
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"Baby Cages" Might Be The Single Worst Invention Of All Time

Updated August 9, 2017 7.8k views7 items

Everyone knows the importance of fresh air and sunshine, but in the early 1900s, new mothers took this suggestion a bit too far. In 1922, a woman named Emma Read from Spokane, Washington, patented a unique design for a large – apparently secure – wire crate that could be attached to the outside of apartment windows, providing city-dwelling infants an opportunity to catch some rays. And they looked just as precarious as they sound. 

The idea was that parents living in city-based apartments didn't have the same access to backyards and parks as country dwellers; thus, they needed a plan B. So, as cities became more dense and apartments increasingly smaller, so-called "baby cages" only got more popular.

  • Mothers Would Literally Hang Their Napping Babies Out Of Windows

    Photo: YouTube
  • Even Eleanor Roosevelt Used A Baby Cage – Until A Neighbor Threatened Report Her To The Authorities

    Photo: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    As early as 1906, Eleanor Roosevelt reportedly purchased a chicken-wire cage with the intent of "airing" her new-born daughter, Anna, out of a north-facing window in their New York City apartment while the baby napped. Roosevelt had heard that fresh air was good for babies, and with baby cages being the up-and-coming childcare product of the decade, she thought she'd give one a shot. However, her neighbors quickly took notice of her strange childcare methods and threatened to report her to child safety services if she didn't stop.

  • The Eventual Decline In The Popularity Of Baby Cages Can Likely Be Attributed To Safety Concerns

    Photo: YouTube