I don't think this would go over well nowadays. From the Iowa City Press-Citizen
- May 12, 1975:
As a pediatrician [Dr. Charles Johnson of the Iowa Medical School faculty] gives a lecture on child development. It’s scheduled for 1 p.m. The students are sleepy, not only because the subject doesn’t send them but because they’ve just finished lunch.
To liven them up Johnson does this:
“I start the lecture by playing a stereo recording from Sesame Street, which awakens about a third of the audience. I briefly outline the two-hour lecture and then, on cue, in comes the first patient... a newborn in a wheeled isolette pushed by a nurse.
“For the pediatrician,” I announce, “this is where it all begins.”
The baby then starts to scream. As it gets louder and louder Johnson becomes more and more annoyed.
At first he rocks the isolette gently, then with more vigor. Finally, in a fit of anger he flings open the glass top, seizes the infant, and throws it out into the audience.
“When the hysteria dies down I state: ‘Infants are helpless parasites. They can be and are battered.’
“Most of my other pearls are soon forgotten, but rarely does the student forget the ‘helpless parasite’ flying into the audience. All that’s needed is a straight-faced nurse, a good tape recording of an infant yelling — and a life-size doll.
Patented by Harriet Y. Clough
of Meadville, Pennsylvania in 1958.
Artist Mary Kelly’s 1976 exhibit at the Insitute of Contemporary Art in London consisted of a framed series of soiled liners from her kid’s diapers. Below the fecal stains, she listed what her kid had eaten in order to produce the marks.
The exhibit provoked outrage. Siona Wilson, in her book Art Labor, Sex Politics: Feminist Effects in 1970s British Art and Performance
, notes, "Kelly was forced to go into hiding for a time to avoid the unwanted media attention."
More info: vice.com
The Twin Falls Times-News - Oct 17, 1976
The 1930s-era solution to the problem of babies getting mixed up in hospitals was to temporarily brand newborns with a UV-ray lamp. The procedure was said to be painless, though it was terrible PR to describe it as 'branding'.
Pittsburgh Press - Sep 25, 1938
Minneapolis Star Tribune - Sep 14, 1930
Sara Franklin's 15 minutes of fame came from being the first baby raised in a glass box. Or in an Air crib, as the device, invented by psychologist B.F. Skinner, was called. More info from wikipedia:
The air crib is an easily cleaned, temperature- and humidity-controlled enclosure intended to replace the standard infant crib. Skinner invented the device to help his wife cope with the day-to-day tasks of child rearing. It was designed to make early childcare simpler (by reducing laundry, diaper rash, cradle cap, etc.), while allowing the baby to be more mobile and comfortable, and less prone to cry. Reportedly it had some success in these goals.
The air crib was a controversial invention. It was popularly mischaracterized as a cruel pen, and it was often compared to Skinner's operant conditioning chamber, commonly called the "Skinner Box". This association with laboratory animal experimentation discouraged its commercial success, though several companies attempted production.
Sydney Morning Herald - July 5, 1964
Indianapolis Star - Jan 12, 1966
No cereal that has touched dirty baby butt is going in my
For nominatively challenged parents, a new company offers help. Future Perfect
charges $350 for a personalized list of 10 possible first and middle names for a newborn. For $225, you'll get a list of first names only, while for $100 they'll provide “a namestorming session like no other.” And for a mere $75, they’ll also help you name your pet.
Add this to my list of things I'd be willing to do for less money.
Back in the late 1940s and early 50s, Swift's urged mothers to start feeding their babies canned, processed meat at 6 weeks because "Results of actual test feedings with six-weeks-old infants show meat gives baby a better start in life!”
I'm no expert, but six weeks seems awful early to start feeding your kid meat, even if it has been pureed into meat mush. Aren't most kids still on breast milk or formula at six weeks?
Boston Globe - Apr 4, 1948
Retired professor Edwin Paget (1902-1989) decided that one of the problems with the world was that babies weren't exercising enough. Therefore, their brains started to go into decline. In an effort to correct this problem, he tried to organize what he claimed were the first ever "baby olympics" in the summer of 1980.
I'm not sure they were ever held, but events would have included "crawling, weightlifing, tug-of-war, 'head-over-heels rolling' and three aquatic events, including the 'leaping fish from the water' swim."
Paget advocated a number of other unusual ideas, such as periodic brain scans for U.S. presidents, to check that their brains had sufficient oxygen levels.
He believed that the rules of basketball should be revised so that the game would be played continuously, with all free throws shot at the end of the game.
And he also designed a line of women's clothing with built-in lighting, saying, "Unlike the bikini, which reveals almost everything, much of which is unattractive, lighting permits a homely girl to reveal only her best, possibly in color."
A former student of his remembers some of Paget's other oddball ideas here.
Twin Falls Times-News - Jun 19, 1980
Lincoln Journal Star - Dec 2, 1979
Auburn Journal - Aug 9, 1981
Back in 1965 Paget campaigned to be the first gold prospector on the moon.
source: Historic Images
Amarillo Globe Times - Nov 3, 1965