Historical Playground Equipment

When somebody posts a news article about a new technique to produce solar or wind power, or the possibility of contact with  extraterrestrials, you’ll see two or three comments on the thread.  Of course, everybody’s got different Facebook friends, so I might be exceptional, but I doubt it.
On the other hand, the most banal posts can get dozens.

This picture piqued my interest.  It’s an interesting view of a world gone by, focusing on an aspect historians seldom focus on.  Playground equipment, which was certainly different in 1900.  Now, I’m old enough to remember when most playground equipment was made of metal, but I’d never seen anything like this.

playground 1900

Well, predictably, many of the comments were things like “back in the good, old days before everybody was so concerned about child safety and kids were freer.”  I think this is a dumb point of view.  Sure, the kids might have had a bit more freedom and less supervision than kids these days, but they also had  a much shorter life expectancy.  Not just things like flu and polio, but playground accidents, too.  Somebody falling from one of those top posts, or the legs of one of those ladders slipping out from underneath, and a kid could be seriously injured.

This picture is a lovely scene, and everybody has nostalgic memories of childhood, but speaking from a parents’ point of view, I’m glad playground equipment of today is made mostly of plastic, meets certain regulations, and is inspected from time to time.  In the world of reality, safety outweighs nostalgia.


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