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47 dangerous old playgrounds that our great-grandparents somehow survived

47 dangerous old playgrounds that our great-grandparents somehow survived

Relating to human historical past, “survival of the fittest” meant extra than just our prehistoric evolution. It additionally means our ancestors needed to efficiently navigate the old playgrounds at college and the parks, surviving all manner of swings, spinners, slides, jungle gyms and different old-school classic play gear.

Positive, there have been sure to be some breaks, bumps and bruises among the survivors — but, based mostly on the straightforward reality that you’re studying this proper now, your ancestors clearly made it by way of childhood with their personal gear intact.

Under, have a look back at the fun and video games that youngsters acquired up to in the course of the 20th century — within the unsafe playground days long before plastic slides, rubber mats and safety rails (to not mention government tips and private damage lawsuits) have been commonplace.

Dangerous old playgrounds our great-grandparents survived (1)


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1. A selfmade slide (1918)

After sliding down the cellar door, a slide made from a plank is about as low-tech (and as low-speed) as you possibly can get.

Old homemade slide from 1918


2. Rings for swings and poles to climb (1905)

On the women’ playground, Harriet Island, St. Paul, Minnesota, the women needed to swing excessive. Actually excessive. And climb up. Method up.

Girls' playground, Harriet Island, St. Paul, Minn. 1905

3. “You want us to do what?!”

Six years or so after the photograph above, chain ladders had been added to the playground combine. Listed here are some women getting fit at Pelham Bay Park within the Bronx, means back in June 1911.

Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx on June 1911

(Courtesy LOC)


four. The youngsters used to get really high

These photograph from the early 1900s — displaying a bunch of youngsters enjoying on sprawling metal pole playground gear at Pittsburgh Pennsylvania’s Mount Washington Park — pretty much epitomize the dangerous enterprise of play simply over a hundred years ago.

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (6)

5. Strings hooked up

Here is what they have been up — approach up — to again in 1900-1910 at Trinity Play Park in Dallas, Texas. There’s a version of this photograph going around the internet, tagged with the suggestion that the kid on the far left is falling… however he’s not. In case you look intently sufficient, although, you possibly can see ropes or chains that show he’s simply on a swing.

Children in 1900 on iron pole playground equipment at Trinity Play Park - Dallas

6. A metallic maze

Right here’s how one in every of these playgrounds appeared minus the youngsters. It type of seems like a minimalist Ikea model of a play construction.

Vintage old playground fun from 1911 (2)

7. It’s only a 20-foot drop… (1912)

Similar to the catalog web page above, this big, sprawling metallic structure is part of the Hiawatha Playground in Seattle. You see it internet hosting about 40 youngsters who have been up to all types of crazy shenanigans… including simply hanging out 20 ft above the ground.

Hiawatha Playground, 1912. From the Seattle Municipal Archives Collection.

eight. Like what you’d get in the event you bought a ridiculously low cost playground slide on Craigslist

The very first thing that caught our eye within the pictures up there’s this thing: parallel poles pretending to be a slide. (They have been truly referred to as “incline poles” or “sliding poles.”) We will see no danger in any respect from this type of contraption. Nope, by no means.

Crazy dangerous old playground from 1912

(Pictures from the Seattle Municipal Archives Collection)

9. Who designed this stuff?!

Significantly — this was created for teenagers to have nice, protected enjoyable?

Vintage old playground fun from 1911 (3)

10. Hope you want splinters, too

Now here’s the same type of old-school construction as proven above, but at this old playground in Boston, it was made out of wooden. That sounds much less like a fun thing to play on at recess, and extra like a punishment.

Columbus Ave. playground. Gymnasium and boys exercising c1905 - Boston Public Library

 (Photograph courtesy Boston Public Library)


11. A number of the earliest old-school swing units

Positive, the bottom was simply dust, but that was in all probability safer than concrete.

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (5)

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (11)

12. Rings, swings & trapeze

This was apparently a well-liked configuration for a swingset — sorry, we mean a “heavy-duty outdoor gymnasium.” (Not even gonna comment on what the “split clamp fittings” might or might not do.)

From 1940 - old playground heavy-duty outdoor gymnasium (2)

13. Virtually there! (c1910)

If that boy might go just a little greater, he may have the ability to go proper excessive.

Public playgrounds and around Boston c1910

 (Courtesy Boston Public Library)

14. There’s some critical swinging

That one kid swinging method again seems to be ready to land in the neighbor’s yard.

Dangerous old-fashioned playgrounds from the twenties (1)

15. Double the hazard, double the fun?

These girls and boys aren’t simply flying excessive — like, perilously near the metal bars at the prime of the structure — but there are three swings with two youngsters each. (This phenomenon can also be seen above.)

Kids doubled up on vintage playground swings

16. A sideways swing that Newton would love

Once we see this swing…

Old playground from 1912 with sideways swing

… which appears like this without the youngsters…

Dangerous old-fashioned playgrounds from the twenties (2)

… we instantly consider the clacking balls on a Newton’s Cradle toy:

Newton's Cradle - Executive toy with clicking balls

(Prime photograph from the Seattle Municipal Archives Assortment)

Build a dream-come-true play house in your backyard (1962)


17. Quicker! Quicker! A picket roundabout (1919-1920)

The old people-powered spinners have been round for generations, which suggests individuals have been falling off them, crashing into other youngsters, and being rocket-launched off them for no less than a century.

In 1975, a medical journal wrote of a few of the hazard: “The youngest children were at particular risk on equipment such as the wooden rocking horse or roundabout, when the speed of operation could be controlled by older children.”

Definitely, the adults of the time should have informed the youngsters to be careful. And the youngsters virtually definitely responded, “Faster! Spin it faster!”

Playground 1919-1920

18. You spin me proper spherical (1925)

On the Medart Ocean Wave (“With an Undulating and Wavelike Motion”) you can sit dealing with in or out — or stand — on this spinner from the mid-’20s. It just trusted whether or not you needed to throw up on bystanders, or the other individuals on the journey with you.

Antique playground equipment from the 1920s - Medart ocean wave ride

19. Wanna go for a spin?

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (14)

20. An old-school Pull-a-Approach spinner (1950)

These spinny issues ended up lasting for decades.

Steel playground equipment from 1950 at Click Americana (1)

21. Run, leap and hold on! What might go fallacious? (1924)

The advert for this spinner stated, “There is plenty of action, bringing into play every muscle in the child’s body.”

Vintage playgrounds from 1924 - kids (2)

22. Women getting some critical raise

Dangerous old-fashioned playgrounds from the twenties (4)

23. The super-tall selfmade version

With chains that long, can you imagine how much raise you possibly can get on this one?

School playground in Kansas 1909


24. “Whatcha doing?” “Just hanging around.”

Old playground equipment from the 20s - Junglegym (2)

25. Listed here are some youngsters wanting rather less uncomfortable/creepy than these up there

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (10)

26. A classic Junglegum might maintain 100 youngsters directly. Really?

We rely about 25 youngsters on this health club, and it seems to be pretty full. It’s sort of arduous to think about 4 occasions as many packed in there.

“The Junglegym No. 2 – a whole playground in itself. The model pictured [below] is capable of handling 100 children at a time — the only thing being necessary is space to set it up.”

Old playground equipment from the 20s - Junglegym (3)

27. Oh. Like that.

Quick ahead to the Bronx in the ’40s, and we see what it seems wish to get about 100 youngsters on a jungle health club.

Bronx Playground with tons of kids in 1940s

28. Hearth chief on the old playground (1940)

What this pyramid-style jungle health club and a fireplace chief had in widespread is anyone’s guess. Perhaps as a result of someone had to name emergency providers when little Timmy fell from the highest, and hit all the tiers on the best way down?

Vintage playgrounds from 1940 at Click Americana - General Playground Equipment Inc (1)


29. The Barrel of Fun: One other piece of old-school playground gear that Darwined itself out of existence (1929)

Barrel of enjoyable? More like barrel resulting in breaks and bumps and bruises.

Old playground equipment from 1929 (1)

30. Ring swings on old-fashioned playgrounds (1924)

We love the kid hanging the wrong way up, and hope restoration went properly after one foot inevitably obtained stuck in a hoop.

1924 - old playground

3 enjoyable backyard additions: Mini-barn, outside kitchen & play fort (1965)

31. Getting a bit crazy (1940)

You don’t typically see these items of old-fashioned playground gear a lot right now — at the very least not used as proven here, naked ft and all. (And how did the child within the flying rings get into that position?! Or again out of it?)

From 1940 - old playground heavy-duty outdoor gymnasium (3)

From 1940 - old playground heavy-duty outdoor gymnasium (1)

32. The wrong way up

We see what the gear is, however we’re nonetheless unsure what this one kid is doing… or why.

Vintage old playground fun from 1911 (1)


33. Teeter Ladders

This old piece — which seems type of like big knitting needles — functioned like a teeter-totter, except you held on from under as an alternative of sitting on it. The Spalding catalog referred to as it a Teeter Ladder.

Dangerous old-fashioned playgrounds from the twenties (5)

Vintage old playground fun from 1911 - Teeter ladders

34. Whirl-Over Swings

This one seems to be like it could be one of many smallest Ferris Wheels ever.

Antique playground equipment from the 1920s (1)

Say, Say, Oh Playmate: We traced the story of this old music and hand clapping recreation, and have the lyrics

35. Rocking out

This piece of old playground gear was referred to as a “Rocking Boat.” We marvel how typically it capsized.

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (4)

36. Hold on, everybody!

Right here’s a unique type of old-school boat swing.

Vintage playground ship swing c1920s

37. Able to launch into the stratosphere?

Was the above photograph too tame? Then take a look at these individuals within the 1920s taking it to the subsequent degree.

Dangerous playground - old-school boat swing going high

38. The Louden Swing-Bob

“A delightful device for the smaller children, particularly, and one that is thoroughly safe. It swings backward and forward with a sweeping and slightly rising and dipping motion that the children like — set in motion by the riders themselves, by pulling and pushing against the supporting arms.”

Old playground equipment from the 20s - The Louden Swing Bob

39. It’s like a bicycle built for eight (1940)

This one was new to us… which suggests it was either incredibly unpopular, or created so many accidents that it was made to vanish. The concept was like different spinners with kid-powered motion, except this required the boys and girls to make it move through the use of the pedals.

Bicycle playground toy from 1940

40. Tree climb (1929)

This is principally a flowery identify for three ten-foot ladders stuck collectively. I imply, how a lot fun, proper?

Old playground equipment from 1929 (2)

MORE: See other discontinued vintage products here!


41. Standing room only?

Seems to be like they have been having a busy day on the Zabriskie Playground in Jersey Metropolis, New Jersey again in 1910 or so.

Dangerous old-fashioned playgrounds from the twenties (3)

42. That’s… not how a slide works. (1920s)

Old playground equipment and fun for kids from the 1920s (13)

43. Really, it’s not. (1942)

Nursery school playground. Robstown camp, Texas 1942


44. Oh, look – it’s an prompt burn system! (1940)

For actual: On sunny days, and without shade, temperatures on these metallic slides might rise up past 160 levels. 

Vintage playgrounds from 1940 at Click Americana - General Playground Equipment Inc (3)

45. Three scorching metallic slides, all in a row (1950)

Steel playground equipment from 1950 at Click Americana (2)

46. The 35-foot journey on a spiral slide (1940)

Spiral slide from 1940


47. Really? This old-school playground gear will do all that by tomorrow?

“Take average children, brimful of the primal instinct to develop through play, provide for them proper playgrounds fitted with modern playground equipment; and tomorrow, they will step forth vigorous, healthy, clear-thinking men and women — to make the world a better place to live in.”

Antique playground equipment from the 1920s - Bending the twig

Indeed — partially, they made it a greater place by changing a few of this scary old playground gear — like the slideless slides and the spinning barrels — with what has advanced into the brightly-colored plastic playgrounds of at this time.

Colorful playground on yard in the park.© Sarayuth Nutteepratoom | Dreamstime.com

Some might not call that progress… but anybody who does in all probability can’t say so without a point of bias. In any case, we are the fortunate ones. Whether by luck or by logic, our mother and father, grandparents and great-grandparents made it via childhood. The hundreds of people that didn’t survive the playgrounds of yesteryear, though, aren’t right here to remind us how good we actually do have it right here in the 21st century. ⦿



In the past, only the lucky and the strong survived the playground - Click Americana

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Tejas Sachdeva

Tejas Sachdeva

The technical guru, with over 2 years of experience in web designing and coding. Undoubtedly the greatest technical asset present at VerfiedTasks. His work ethics are second to none, an honest guy with a huge heart who is always willing to help others. He discovered the Blockchain world at the very start and being his usual self who is always ready to explore and learn, he began doing his own research which has provided him with a ton of knowledge in this department. His helping nature is what motivated us to start this small initiative known as VerifiedTasks.