In 1923, U.S. patent 1448235 was issued to an Emma Read for her remarkable invention of the Portable Baby Cage. It was the purpose of this invention to suspend infants from the exterior of high-rise buildings, adjacent to windows, so that they could enjoy fresh air and exercise without the pesky business of taking the child outside.
You can see the downright amazing photos of the baby cage in action here, in photos taken in the 1930s. There they sit/crawl/recline, the Portably Caged Babies, dangled many stories above the street in a wire mesh box. Are they happy? Are they gripped by diaper-filling terror? It's hard to say, because we can only rely on the images. Tragically, the baby cage is no longer a viable product.
Yes, I said tragically. Sure, you might be horrified by those photos, but that's because you haven't thought of the many, MANY benefits a window-bolted baby cage can provide!
For one thing, consider the immeasurable reduction in baby-related odors. Smelly diaper? Out you go into the cage, Junior. Let those fresh breezes carry away the eyeball-searing stench of the child's bodily secretions. This would come in especially handy if you were having guests over. How many times have you tidied the house for company, only to have your infant grunt his way through a massive blowout just before the doorbell rings? With the cage, you could just put him outside the window ahead of time -- and guests could still admire his rosy wind-chapped cheeks from behind the safety of the glass. Don't forget to line the mesh with fresh newspapers!
Also, life with a baby would be so much more peaceful if you could stick him outside when he cries. Let's face it: babies are abysmally noisy. But who will hear him in the portable baby cage? No one aside from those pigeons (are they pecking him? Well, no matter, he'll learn valuable lessons about wildlife!). Go ahead, while baby hollers, you can put your feet up and get some much-needed rest.
Finally, I think we can all agree that cramming your child in what appears to be a veal pen is the perfect solution for reducing mobility and increasing those delicious baby fat-rolls. No one likes a crawling, toddling, getting-into-everything baby, and a small cage is well-suited for hindering his development. Plus, you can surely slip a bottle through the openings in the wire to make sure he's building up those adorable roly-poly thighs. Remember, a baby with muscle tone is an unattractive and unpleasant baby.
In conclusion, I for one hope the Portable Baby Cage comes back into vogue -- what a tragedy that it was only enjoyed by those who raised children 80 years ago. It's just so sad that we've replaced wonderful practices like this with the callous modern parenting choices of today.
Have you ever heard of this 1930-era baby cage? Would you totally buy one right now? Do you think someone should invent a sarcasm font?
Image via Encyclopedia Homeschoolica/Getty Images