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Color My World: 1952

"Linda 1952." Mid-century New England, in what could have been an ad for Kodachrome film. 35mm color transparency found on eBay. View full size.

"Linda 1952." Mid-century New England, in what could have been an ad for Kodachrome film. 35mm color transparency found on eBay. View full size.

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No "monkey bars"

Linda's swing set is pretty elaborate. The one we had didn't have the "monkey bars" that go across the top where Linda is climbing on hers.

But that's okay. We got our jollies not simply trying to see how high you could swing, but how high you could swing then hop out of the seat and go flying!

Safety First

I remember putting one of those things together back in the 1960s. It took me two weekends and I was super careful in order to be sure the construction would be sound and the kids using it would be safe. At the end I ran into a problem, there were a lot of left over nuts, screws, bolts and other fasteners. The children were ready to ride but I wouldn't let them. This was before stores were open on Sundays. On Monday I called the manufacturer directly ( 800 numbers were scarce then) to check on my work. They assured me that always packed lots of extras and that if I followed the assembly instructions there shouldn't be any problems. We sold the house about 15 years later, the backyard gym was still there, ready for the new owners kids.


Re: the high swinging comments. My Dad made a safety investment for us rowdy boys. Our swingset had shackles on the legs that were chained to corkscrew like stakes. I remember that it was noisy.

Re: Nails and Chains

We had a swing set of the same vintage, complete with the skin-tearing nuts and bolts and eventually a rough patina of rust, plus the humpity-thumpity of the legs lifting off the ground when someone swang too high, evoked so well by pattyanne. But the way we used to adjust the height of the swings was by pulling up an equal number of links on both chains and attaching the chain to the J-shaped fastener not by the top link as on Linda's set but by, say, the tenth link. That way, you wouldn't have to insert yet another scrape-producing metal item into the child's hand zone. You could also toss the seat over the top of the frame, as LarryDoyle recalls, but that was considered the, uh, rowdy solution.

Rusty fastener

It looks like a carriage bolt has been used to repair the chain. The link from below has been pulled through the link above and the bolt passed through. It's hard to see but I believe there may be a square nut on the end. The other chain for the seat has been shortened with what looks like an "S" hook, probably to level the seat after the repair.

Lockjaw? Nah.

The height adjusting "S" hook must have been needed elsewhere. In order for that particular sitting position to function as designed, an alternate splice was required, probably installed by one of the machines operators. My guess is the multi purpose carriage bolt. A wonderful picture, with the original transparency sitting on Shorpys desk, next to the loupe.

Carriage Bolt

That's what it looks like to me.

Nails and Chains

That's how you adjusted the length of the chains on the swing seat for kids with short legs or long legs.

The other way was to toss the seat over the top of the frame in order to wrap the chains around the pipe, thus raising the seat higher from the ground.

Sigh! Another folk skill lost.

Swing high

I wonder how we made it through childhood alive also. What I remember most is the thrill of seeing how high you could swing before the legs of the swingset started lifting off the ground!! Unless someone got smart and cemented them in! Fun days. I love the "Linda" series because she is about my age and I remember so much of what we see in these photos! Thanks, Shorpy!!

Sorry Dave,

But that is a rusty nail stuck into the middle of the chain.

[Incorrect. Next! - Dave]

Good Greens!

Not only is this a super photo in itself, but it also proves that Kodachrome could render greens in a realistic way. Years ago, some photographers would grouse that the film wasn't capable of that.


How did we live to be adults

I am probably just a year or two older than Linda. In the early 50s my neighbor had one of those swing sets with all of the exposed hardware mentioned in "Vintagetvs" earlier post.

But worse yet, in order to not have a muddy area under the swings the area was covered with steel "diamond deck" under the whole footprint of the swing. In today's world it would have to be some form of soft mulch in case someone falls off.

Look out for the nail

It looks like somebody stuck a rusty nail in one of the chain links. Maybe the photographer found it on the ground and stuck it there while taking the picture. This is a very good quality picture.

[The rusty fastener is a screw or bolt. - Dave]


It looks like it was taken last week instead of 60 years ago, except of course the swing is made of metal instead of plastic, and there are all kinds of exposed bolts, pivots and chains that can cut, pinch and smash the tender parts.


Dave's comment on this picture as an ad for Kodachrome is right on. My dad was a professional photographer who always spoke of Kodachrome with a kind of reverence. This picture, in its depth, reveals why.

She's a Sexagenarian!

Most folks back in the 'Colorful' 1950s couldn't afford Kodachrome Film. It's a shame Linda's family doesn't have these wonderful photos to treasure. Thanks for bringing them to us, Shorpy!

Linda's on my mind

The little girl in this Subaru commercial made me think of Linda the first time I saw it. Seeing this great picture of Linda today just confirms it.

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