Designed by Lee Pauwels of Los Angeles to protect his six-year-old son from harmful atomic rays given off by a nuclear explosion. He noted that the suit wouldn't protect his son from the concussion of the blast, "But authorities believe a person could survive the blast at much closer range if he were lying down and wearing the suit. Afterward he'd be able to leave the area that had become contaminated by harmful rays."
I wonder if this suit still survives somewhere, stored in someone's attic. Well, it must be around if even atomic rays couldn't harm it. This is the kind of thing that should be on display in the Smithsonian (if I were running it).
Back in 1951, the U.S. Army was told it needed to cut costs, so it initiated the "cost-consciousness" program. This involved putting price tags on all the equipment, so that the soldiers could see how much everything cost. The theory was that this would make them use the equipment more "wisely and well."
After the program was implemented, one Army Reserve staffer said, "It looks just like a department store here."
Tuck your kids into bed with the "Atom Blanket" and you know they'll be safe from surprise nuclear attacks!
Atom Blanket: An American blanket manufacturer is widely publicizing this lead-lined model ($49.50), said to shield wearers from atomic radiation, fire, and shock 10 miles from blast center. Civil-defense experts have not changed their view that basement shelters are more effective.
Source: Newsweek - Apr 26, 1954
Note: Although Newsweek claimed this blanket was widely publicized, I haven't been able to find any references to it in papers and magazines from the 1950s -- beyond the reference in Newsweek itself. Perhaps it was advertised in trade publications that have never been scanned and placed online.