How Did Anyone Survive the 1950s and 1960s?

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We’re parents of younger kids here at BestRide. For the last 13 years, we’ve strapped kids into seats that offered way more bolstering and constriction than the one Neil Armstrong sat in, perched atop an Atlas rocket. They’re riding in cars that can sense whether belts are buckled, how fast the airbag should deploy and whether or not a kid has been left in the back seat.

If you grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, though, cars were designed specifically to address the population explosion by killing approximately 71 percent of the population every year. Safety? You hurtle down the road at 52 miles per hour, you take your chances.

Nevertheless, some parents took the D-I-Y approach to safety and security with kids in the car, with advice from magazines with titles like Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, and Popular I Just Burned The House to the Ground.

It’s not really the bottle warmer that’s the bad idea here, unless it was an earlier version that used an open flame provided by a fresh stream of gasoline from the fuel tank. It’s the idea of hurtling around 1950s America with a newborn in your arms. It’s a miracle an entire generation survived.

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The questionable ideas in this “portable” cooler/air conditioner come by the truckload:

A) Anything that can blow 550 cubic feet of air per minute probably shouldn’t be fed through that 22 gauge wire plugged into the cigarette lighter.

B) Does the spray of water hit you in the face as you’re driving, like Bingo the Clown’s squirting flower?

C) There’s 2.5 gallons of water sloshing around in that thing. Combined with the weight only a stamped steel box can provide, there must be 60 pounds sitting on those spindly legs, waiting to crush you on the next hard left-hander.

D) Now you know what all the hernia trusses advertised in the back of the magazine were for.

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Are you tired of breaking stride in your car trip to pull over and wait the four minutes it takes for some uneducated schlub to prepare a hot dog at a roadside stand? Simply stuff two franks on this hot dog treadmill! They’ll cook to a tepid 99.3 degrees while you toast your buns on top!

Driving alone? Simply find a straight stretch of road and use your necktie to tie the wheel to the vent window and stay on the straight and narrow!

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We don’t know the science-y explanation, but an engine that runs on nothing but waste oil is probably why we don’t have a polar ice shelf anymore.

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This seemed like a super-great idea until the firs

t motorcyclist to hit it in the rain realized that painted concrete is slipperier than a booger on a glass doorknob.

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This photograph explains approximately 13 percent of the infant mortality rate in the 1950s. Nothing provides an infant a safe place to ride like half-inch plywood and steel hooks.

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This is a much improved solution for keeping Junior in the back seat versus the old method, which involved a spool of razor wire and a rear footwell filled with piranhas and broken glass.

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The key passage in this entry is at the very end: “To keep the ‘ship’ from sinking, his passenger manned a small bilge pump.”

Do not try this at home.

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In the go-go 1950s, you didn’t often have time to shower at home, so you just set this portable rig up to cleanse yourself. You can use the two gallons of water from the cooler above for showering.

Portable toilet sold separately.

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In the 1950s, everybody needed a bean harvester. This entry states that this particular bean harvester does “three jobs,” which included “bean things,” “finger removal” and “widow making.”

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Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at BestRide.com.