JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Baby Shower: 1960

This is my grandma (who is no longer alive), pregnant with my father, making this around 1960. I'm fascinated by the mural above the fireplace and the little figures on top, but perhaps someone might know what the black thing on the table is? And, of course, the big blue thing and television are awesome. Scanned from a Kodak safety negative. View full size.

This is my grandma (who is no longer alive), pregnant with my father, making this around 1960. I'm fascinated by the mural above the fireplace and the little figures on top, but perhaps someone might know what the black thing on the table is? And, of course, the big blue thing and television are awesome. Scanned from a Kodak safety negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

How beautiful!

Your grandmother was a lovely, elegant lady.

We had a black panther light just like that...

I never quite understood why a black panther, but they were common. It is like surfing in a time machine this site!

Ah, the 16WP4

The TV set is from 1951, the first model year in which Philco used the split chassis--and the last that they used round black & white tubes. Absolutely not a color set.

Black Panther

I recently purchased a n original Black Pahtner like the one on the table. My aunt had all the Panthers; TV light, letterholder, planter, ashtray and figureine. I wanted the on in the antique story in her memory. I keep it above my desk.


The panther design on the table was also popular as a TV lamp. It was felt that the ambient light generated by these lamps reduced eye strain, permitting guilt-free viewing. We had a panther TV lamp, at another time a panther planter, and one other time a panther like the one in your photo. We also had the Chinese candle holders, only ours were black.

I knew instantly

what that "black thing" was- HERE IT IS!!

Humpty Dumpty

I love the stuffed Humpty Dumpty lying on the floor. My mother had a panther planter when I was growing up.

Objet d'Ash

My Nonna had one, except it had a built-in ashtray. No one in that house ever smoked, yet somehow she still felt the ceramic panther ashtray was a necessary thing to have.

Canadian Icon

That stuffed Humpty on the floor is a cultural icon to 30-50 year olds who grew up in Ontario. He and his partner Dumpty figured prominently on a kids' TV show called "Polka Dot Door."

TV Lamp Museum

There is an antique store in Northfield, Minnesota, that displays an incredible collection of those weird TV lamps. I'm sure they have a panther or twelve. It's a really neat place!

Aunt Irene's ceramic shoe

My Great Aunt Irene had one of those black panthers. I always remember it sitting in her bedroom. The was an oval cutout in the top. As a child, she told me it was a shoe. I would always ask her, "How did you get your foot in there and where's the one for the other foot?" I wish I could remember her answer. I also remember wondering why it didn't break when you walked in it. One time I tried putting it on my foot and got in all kinds of trouble.

Armstrong, Kentile

This floor is probably not linoleum. More likely rubberized composite (Armstrong) or vinyl (Kentile). There's more info here.

Popular Grandma

Fifty Five comments. I think it is the most I've seen here. Grandma's photo struck a (many panther-related) chord with a lot of Shorpsters. Is fifty five comments a record?

[It's definitely impressive but not even close to the record-holder, the OLL thread (Caution: Do not attempt to read while operating heavy machinery). Also the Beaver Letter. - Dave]

Jaspé today

Oh how I'd love that Jaspé tile for my 1950 California ranch house. Modern linoleum just doesn't have the "look" of vintage tiles. If they could make it sixty years ago, why can't they make it now?

Jaspé Linoleum

The streaky pattern in the linoleum tiles was (and still is) called Jaspé (pronounced hasspay) by the flooring trade, and was meant to resemble marble or other grained stone. But it's a Spanish textile term originally used to describe handwoven fabrics with streaky patterns that were resist-dyed into the unwoven yarns prior to weaving the fabric. Although jaspé-patterned vinyl flooring is still available, it only comes in big rolls, and the traditional crossways laying of the streaks in the 10-inch linoleum tiles can't be done with the available product. I ran into this when I was working on the historical restoration of a 1935 exposition building in San Diego, and we had a heck of a time matching the original jaspé floor tiles in several rooms.

That's a black panther on the table

...and they still sell reproductions. My great-grandfather had one.

Add one at home

I grew up in Canada and my parents has one of these panthers on the living room table. They also has a coloured tiger in their bedroom. My mom still has them!

TV Furniture Choices

I think you're right the TV set in the picture is a Philco. It is a mahogany cabinet. The choices were usually Mahogany or Oak. The Oak was a lighter color and the manufacturers had different names for it like honey oak, blonde oak or ash and charged about $20 more for it.. At one point, I think, RCA made a deal with Henredon and they supplied high end furniture cabinets for the RCA TVs. The TV business at that time had RCA and Zenith each with about 35% of the total sales, Philco, Admiral, Magnavox and the rest of them scrambling for the remaining 30%. Panasonic (using the name National) entered the U.S. market in 1959 followed by Sony, JVC etc. However they were only in the radio business at that time.

Mid-century pix

I love the turn of the century pictures and the chance to pore over the details of buildings and cars and the ghost people, but these mid-century pix always attract lots of interesting comments. I am usually prompted to remember things I haven't thought about in years, like the bathroom floor in my childhood home that had those flecks of green, black and white that someone described below. More of both, please.

A contest

Awesome photo. You and tterrace are going to have a color slide battle now here on Shorpy. I'll have to admit you both are my favorite photo posters. I'm more impressed with your contributions than my own.


This is a great photo of a moment in time. Perhaps frightening to some, I have that clock, a panther, and even ... sigh ... those tiles on my floor right now. The house was built in '55 and I was built in '54.

Our panther is a relatively new member of the family, but my husband's pride and joy. Believe it or not, visiting his childhood friend, he saw it sticking out of the top of his trash can -- just four years ago! Ours is pretty fancy, with gold teeth and floral painting, and a chain connecting his collar to his leg so he can't get away from the coffee table!

As kids, we were not allowed to watch TV in the dark, nor were we able to sit "too close." I even remember the deadly words my dad spoke when he warned us that "Renkin Units" were what was out to get us. Who is TV savvy enough to remember those and let us know if there was truly a danger? We apparently survived!

Love the photo!

[I think your dad was probably saying "Roentgen units," i.e. X-rays. Color TV picture tubes did emit very small amounts of ionizing radiation. When we got our first color TV set in the late 1960s, my dad taped a dental X-ray tab to the TV screen with a penny between the film and the glass. After a week he took the film to his dental office and developed it. If the film showed a light circle (the penny) on a dark background, that would have meant there was measurable radiation. Luckily the film came out blank. - Dave]

TV, fireplace & bookcase

PJMoore said: Looks uncannily like my own mother's pics from ... 1959. TV next to the fireplace with bookcase behind.

Something like this? (1960)


In looking more closely at the large version of the photo, I noticed that Grandma is holding a bouquet made up of all the bows that must have been on the presents she received. The presents themselves are displayed in front of the fireplace. One is reminded that in those days baby shower gifts had to be gender-neutral -- the gift on top (some kind of blanket set?) is yellow and white.

(PS - it was I who posted the Humpty Dumpty pattern - guess I forgot to log in...)

Mind if I smoke?

Now that I am able to bring up the full sized image, I'm wondering if that's not a matchbook on the table. That smallest porcelain tray looks like an ashtray with telltale smudges in it. This was back in the day when pregnant women thought nothing of smoking through their pregnancy (as my own mom did in 1946). Gak!

Shower II

Looks uncannily like my own mother's pics from when she was pregnant with me in 1959. TV next to the fireplace with bookcase behind. Makes me want to dig out my old Kodachromes and see what I can find.


She is lovely and every mom to be should be thrown a shower like this one. This is a classic mother-to-be photograph, I have one of myself on the day of my shower that is very similar.

Does anyone know what that black thing is on the coff....

Hey look! A shiny new quarter!!

The Time

Odd that no one mentioned the ship's wheel clock on the bookshelf. It seemed everyone had to have one of those, too. They came in many different sizes and bases, as I recall.

[Jazznocracy mentioned it way down below. - Dave]


That mantel mural actually looks like a Van Gogh print, but I'd have to dig through my books to find which painting... The tree's dark outlining and wet-on-wet is Van Gogh's signature style.


Someone should point out that there are actually books in the living room. It was about a decade after this that, as Nora Ephron noticed, the Reagans built the California governor's residence with a wet bar in the living room but not one bookshelf anywhere in the house.

Mantelpiece mural

A mantelpiece mural like that would have been pretty unusual in most Southern California houses of the 1940s and 1950s. Tony, have you found other photos of the living room that might show more of it?

TV lamps and other mid-century modern bad taste

The reason TV lamps were created was that people of the era believed that watching TV in the dark would damage your eyes.

I can remember, as a child, having adults turn on the lights of the room I was in, when I watched TV at night, explaining that as the reason.

Why watching TV in a darkened room would hurt your eyes, but watching a movie in a darkened theater didn't, was never explained. But that is at least one origin kitsch lamps on top of TV sets.

Oh, and those streaked floor tiles were everywhere. The ones in our house (built 1953) were black with green and ivory streaks. They were made of asphalt. Those beige ones may be all vinyl, or vinyl-asbestos. Asbestos was in a lot of 1950's home-things to "save" your house in the event of a fire.

[Here is my theory: Most people like a lamp on if they're watching TV at night. Table lamps were often too bright for the relatively dim picture tubes in 1950s TV sets. TV lamps were a way to have ambient lighting that didn't wash out the picture. - Dave]

Mom of Invention

I wonder if they had gift wrap big enough to cover the laundry cart box, or if they did what my mother and aunts did and used whatever leftover wallpaper they had gussied up with lots of pastel colored curling ribbons.

Floor Tiles

I had tiles like that in a house I owned a few years back in MPLS. It was a sweet little brick rambler built in '54.

Confused over age

Okay Dave, you have me totally confused. I just viewed a photo of you at age 14 in 1960. Yet here is a photo of your Grandma pregnant with your Dad in 1959/1960. How is that possible?

[You are confused! These are not pictures of me, or my grandma. The age 14 pic is tterrace's photo. The grandma photo is Tony W's. - Dave]

Icons of the era

This picture is full of period items. The ship’s wheel clock on the mantel, probably made by Telechron, the steel tube kitchen chairs, the asphalt tiles with the deco rug. The laundry cart in a corrugated cardboard carton. I wonder if it’s a Japanese import? This was just the beginning of such things.

But what I get a charge out of most are the Dixie cups. Before a certain point in time, the only style available was that simple white with blue doodads. Now we have them in an infinite array of designer patterns.

Ah, the 21AXP22 ... the 21CYP22 ...

That is a color TV for sure, and probably used the 21AXP22 kinescope which had a metal shell. Working on those sets back then, one had to VERY careful making adjustments anywhere near the shell of the kinescope (CRT) because the shell was carrying a full 25 KV! Yep, lots of memories working on those old color sets. Of course (little trivia here) if the set was manufactured around 1959, the CRT would have been an all-glass 21CYP22. In either case, both tubes required the use of a "safety glass" in front of the CRT face. Later tubes used an integral safety glass bonded directly to the face, eliminating the need for the external safety glass. And there, class, is your trivia for today! Discuss it among yourselves.

Stack O' Gifts

Judging from the pile of goodies stacked in front of the fireplace, I'd say Grandma made quite a haul on this day. Ah, the kindness of women invited to baby showers.

Haeger Potteries

The panther was Haeger Potteries signature piece of the period.

Figures and cups

I remember those wax coated cups, vividly. We used them through the summers for picnics.

The candle holder figures look Chinese, or possibly Japanese. My father's aunt had a few figures made in occupied Japan. At the time they were inexpensive but are now collector's items.

What a pretty grandmother-to-be.


This is the first time I've seen asphalt tile used in a home -- except for ours. Built just after WWII, there was little other choice I guess. Ugly as sin but lasts forever.

Fast aging

Something doesn't add up here. There was a photo two days ago ("Father's Day 1964") of your Father, looking middle aged. Yet today's photo shows his Mom 4-5 years earlier, not yet having given birth to him? I'm totally confused.

[Look above the photo to see who posted it. This pic was posted by Tony. The Father's Day photo was posted by tterrace. - Dave]


It looks to me like a laminate tabletop. My grandfather had one similar, with the end tables to match.

My life's beginnings

This series sure makes me want to dig through all my old stuff. I was born in 1959, too. I have many of my dad's old slides that look so very similar to these.

Kitten Heels

But look at her shoes! Kitten heels with gold and clear plastic (?) instep. Seriously--one could wear those today. The dress too for that matter.


It seems like everybody in the world had one of those black panthers in those days. We had one - I was fascinated by it and wouldn't leave it alone (I was three years old). Of course I ended up breaking poor old Mr. Panther in half. Years later I found another one - with a "TV light" built in it - on eBay and I bought it.

Humpty Hump

That Humpty-Dumpty toy is near about the creepiest thing I have ever seen. The stuff of nightmares.

Those little Asian figurines

Those little Asian figurines atop the fireplace mantel are also really something. My grandma had something like those candle holders, only they were salt shakers...

Black Panther

Definitely a black panther... my grandfather had the same exact one.

Black Panther

Without question it's a black panther figure, a fairly common piece for the day. My late-grandmother also owned and displayed one; it remains in our family.

Just maybe

I can't be sure — perhaps someone else has noticed it, too — but that black figurine on the table seems to resemble — now stay with me on this, I know it's kind of a left-field guess — some sort of a large feline animal. Like a panther. Maybe.

Syndicate content is a vintage photography site featuring thousands of high-definition images. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Contact us | Privacy policy | Accessibility Statement | Site © 2024 Shorpy Inc.