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New and Improved: 1924

New and Improved: 1924

1924. "Bureau of Standards. New and improved measuring board for U.S. Children's Bureau." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Still In Use

My daughter (now 3) was put on the same type of measuring device, only difference is it was plastic. I guess the good ideas stick around for the long haul.

My pappy always said...

"Measure twice and cut once."

Measuring babies

Take it from a retired Public Health Nurse. This is the best way to measure babies. Did it many times at our Well Baby Clinics. With a writhing baby, have mom hold the feet flat against the foot board, and keep the body straight as possible. Slide the head board to the top of the infant's head, and you have the measurement. We did keep our babies dressed however. More difficult was trying to keep them still while on the baby scale to weigh them.

How to Measure

I still think the best method is to stand them up against a wall and draw a line right above their heads. It's difficult with (but not impossible) with infants. The other problem is when the wall has to be painted.

Oh, it works.

This is how the pediatrician measured my daughter when she was an infant (she's now 4). Works as well or better than other methods I've seen.


I was thinking it kind of looks like the boards the Chinookans used to shape their babies' noggins.

It'll Never Work

It's no surprise that this device never became popular! Whoever thought up the idea evidently didn't have a lot of contact with babies! Squirmy little things they are!

Johnson & Johnson

So that's how they make Baby Oil. With a baby press!


That's an exceedingly calm baby, under the circumstances. Most people would not be nearly so serene when being measured like a foot for a shoe.

Comfy Babies

This photo appeared in the Washington Post, Feb 15, 1924. The accompanying caption reads:

The versatile bureau of standards has now turned its attention to babies and has designed a new and improved measuring board for the U.S. children's bureau. It is constructed so that the baby may be measured with a minimum of handling and discomfort.

[Hmm. Discomfort for the baby handler or the baby? I wonder if it could also be used as a baby-shortener or stretcher. - Dave]

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