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February 11, 2024

This ‘Device’ That Was Created Aiming to Develop Baby Leg Muscles From the 1940s

This newsreel established by the Associated Press from April 18, 1940, boasting of a product to keep babies quiet.

“Here’s an invention with a dual purpose,” the voiceover announces. “Not only does it give baby something to do when it’s not eating or sleeping. But it also develops the leg muscles making every child a potential soccer international. Incidentally, the idea is a great boon to parents with the infant having gotten incredibly bored with the treadmill takes refuge in sleep.”

It’s not the idea that’s strange. There are plenty of foot-kicking play gyms for infants today. It’s the design that makes it feel like a relic from the past.

The device is like a massive, rimless cartwheel. Parents would need a pretty large nursery to store this clunky equipment and a crib. Then, of course, there is the placement of the child. The baby lies under the wheel in a cot to kick each of the protruding spokes as he’s spun around.


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