18 September 2016

A history of playground equipment


Excerpts from a longread at Collectors Weekly:
[R]emoving and replacing playground equipment takes money, so a certain amount of vintage playground equipment survived into the next millennium—but it’s vanishing fast. Fortunately, Brenda Biondo, a freelance journalist turned photographer, felt inspired to document these playscapes before they’ve all been melted down. Her photographs capture the sculptural beauty and creativity of the vintage apparatuses, as well as that feeling of nostalgia you get when you see a piece of your childhood. After a decade of hunting down old playgrounds, Biondo published a coffee-table book, 2014’s Once Upon a Playground: A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920-1975, which includes both her photographs of vintage equipment and pages of old playground catalogs that sold it.
More discussion and a gallery of photos at Collector's Weekly. Top photo via imgur.

9 comments:

  1. Seen through my modern eyes, I can't help but think, "That looks dangerous!"

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    Replies
    1. Yep, that's what I see, too. I enjoyed these contraptions as a child, and yes, sometimes stuff happened and you got to go to the principal's office to get cleaned up, band-aids and toxic topical remedies applied. Good times!

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  2. The grade school I went to had play ground equipment like that. I remember it fondly. Though I also recall one of my classmates falling from near the top and damaging his kidneys.

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  3. i grew up with the safe monkey bars - the base was a 5x5 square that was 3 levels high, then a 3x3 square as the 4th level, and topped with a 1 block on the 5th level. the coolest place to be in the 1 block, so no one else could climb in, or, sit on the outside of the 4th level and watch everyone else climb up.

    I-)

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  4. I believe many parks and playgrounds of that era were built as a safer alternative to streets and abandoned buildings.

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  5. Born early 80's... but still pine for 'slides' you could actually SLIDE on. Metal. Not the plastic ones that don't slope more than 10% and create enough static electricity to kill a small laptop.

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    Replies
    1. really? i have not heard of that.

      hmm... maybe they could rig up some kind of apparatus so as the kids slide down, they generate electricity and that goes in to the grid.

      I-)

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    2. I may have employed some hyperbole. But static electricity surely is quite a nasty surprise on many plastic slides, how much depends on the weather and the type of clothing material worn.

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  6. The top picture looks like something out of an early Crossfit WOD.

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