Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday's postcard: Old Woman's Shoe on the playground

Speaking of playground equipment, this advertising postcard, which was mailed in 1963, touts a spiffy new piece of playground equipment that was being offered by Los Angeles-based Jamison Manufacturing Company at the time.

The F-19 Old Woman's Shoe is described on the back of the postcard as being 11 feet, 3 inches long, 15 feet wide and 9 feet high. "Includes 10 foot long stainless steel bottom slide hidden behind the right side and a sliding poll from the back." It was then, "hot-dip galvanized after fabrication," which doesn't sound like a phrase one would use to describe playground equipment.

The price tag was $698 in 1963, which is the equivalant of about $6,000 today. Zoinks!

The "Fantasy by Jamison" series of high-end playground equipment also included the F-6 Satellite, F-20 Gates of Camelet and F-44 Flying Saucer, according to this postcard. Check out these online images of other Jamison equipment:

Today I learned there's a Wikipedia entry named Cold War playground equipment that deals with this specific topic. It notes that the equipment "was intended to foster children's curiosity and excitement about the Space Race. It was installed during the Cold War in both communist and capitalist countries. ... By 1963, Philadelphia had installed 160 space-aged playgrounds, which featured satellites, rockets, and submarines."

To take a deeper dive into Jamison's Cold War playground equipment, I highly recommend this July 2018 post on the blog Preservation in Pink: "Rare playground find: Miracle/Jamison 1975 Mark IV Imagine City." It documents a great discovery of a "metal spaceship-looking apparatus" in an overgrown field the eastern United States. You'll want to read all about it and see the fantastic photos of the wave slide, two-deck satellite tower, swings and more. Check it out! 

Meanwhile, I feel like the Old Woman's Shoe advertised on this postcard was Jamison's last hurrah of fairy-tale themed equipment before going "all in" on the futuristic designs that dominated 1960s and 1970s parks.

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