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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Life Lessons: 1951

Life Lessons: 1951

Jan. 19, 1951. "Common accidents in the home." A sentiment open to a number of interpretations. Wellington, New Zealand, Evening Post photo. View full size.

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Was the year my parents bought our Electrolux. The demo man came out to the house in a 1951 Buick Roadmaster sedan and put the machine through its paces. He dumped a pile of dirt onto one of our living rooms chairs to show how effective it was, then forgot to clean it up until I reminded him just as he was getting ready to leave--my parents said I embarassed them. I was disappointed that ours didn't have the neat cord rewinder on the front. I still have the big marbelized rubber zipper bag with the porthole for winter storage of furs. There's a port at the bottom to which you connected a cannister for moth balls, then the hose was connected to the front of the machine and the fumes blown into the bag.

Not that uncommon

A lot of children are accidents. At least this one is learning a useful trade. Knitting a new vacuum bag.

Metal rod

I think it's a knitting needle. Doesn't anyone remember what those were?

Honey --

Do you know what happened to my car antenna?

Boys' Wind Tunnel

The 50s Electrolux equivalent blew outwards if you plugged the hose into the other end, which provided the power for any number of wind tunnels for testing airfoils.

The Problem

Of course it doesn't suck, it's Rocket Man's jet pack.

One minute there were two gerbils

and then there was only one.

Life lesson #32

Always fix your vacuum in your jammies.

See Janie

This is what happens when you let Fluffy the gerbil out of his cage.

How many times

do I have to tell you, "Don't use the vacuum while the cat's in the house?!"

Shut the cage next time

If I leave the knitting needle here, maybe the hamster will climb out on its own.

"And always remember ...

... to wet your finger before poking those shiny little wires!"

That needle isn't metal

My mother had those needles - same dark colour, same rounded-off ends. Those were early plastic needles - probably Bakelite. Horrible things, but those single-pointed needles usually were no matter what they were made of. Thank heavens for circs.

Local Adaptation

Remember, Julia, in the Southern Hemisphere we coax the motor in an anticlockwise direction.

C'mon Mom, find it!

I need my molar to get a shilling from the Tooth Fairy!

Ultra Mod

That vac has a plastic-insulated power cord, way ahead of its time. The 50's Electrolux my mommy used way into the 70's had a cloth-insulated cord, as did most of the pre-1960's appliances that I remember in the household of my youth.

One interpretation

I expect they are trying to tell you not to poke metal rods into your 12000 rpm vacuum cleaner motor with it plugged in. Particularly when you are also four inches away and staring into the hole. This is the "Before" picture, of course.

Now look

Honey here's how we unclog the vacuum, first of all we make sure it's plugged in, then stick this metal rod down this hole --

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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