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.

  • Baby Cages Were All The Rage In The 1930s

    Photo: YouTube

    In 1930s London, country homes gave way to small apartments as families moved en mass to cities for work and greater opportunities. Sadly, this came at a price, as early cities weren't necessarily equipped with the amenities that modern cities enjoy – including adequate outdoor space to let your young ones crawl about safely. Lucky for them, Emma Read of Spokane, WA, had already thought up the perfect solution: baby cages.

  • Baby Cages Were Fastened Directly To Window Frames Much Like Modern Air Conditioners

    Photo: YouTube

    These baby cages – which more closely resemble a cage that you would keep a pet bunny in than something you'd ever want your child play in – would be suspended from the outside of window frames, much like popular window-based air conditioners are today, fastened with a little ledge for your sweet babe to sleep on.

  • Still Not Sure About The Baby Cages? See If This British Propaganda Film Changes Your Mind

    Video: YouTube
  • They Were Likely Inspired By Dr. Luther Emmett Holt's Book, "The Care And Feeding Of Children"

    Photo: YouTube

    In 1894, Dr. Luther Emmett Holt published a book that aimed to assist new mothers in caring for their children, as numerous ailments were causing widespread illness in infants. The book, titled The Care and Feeding of Children: A Catechism for the Use of Mothers and Children's Nurses, provided solutions and suggestions, ranging from only feeding children certified milk to "airing" out children and subjecting them to cold temperatures to help them build immunity to common colds. However, he also argued that parents should avoid playing with their children until they are over six months old, as they "are made nervous and irritable, sleep badly and suffer from indigestion" when given too much attention.