MAKER MAYHEM: Low Moments in How-To History

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Maker Mayhem #3

Car Seat Dog Leash: A lesson in the laws of physics Many people believe that a death by hanging is the result of strangulation. This is not true. A death by hanging is the result of a broken or dislocated second cervical vertebra called the axis, which, if the hangman knows what he or she is doing, should sever the spinal cord, arrest blood pressure, and force the subject to lose consciousness, all in a matter of about two seconds. The brain death that follows can take as long as twenty minutes, but that won’t be enough time to revive the Fox Terrier dangling off the edge of your front seat by the end of this custom leash, as shown here in a simple how-to from the late 1950s. So simple in co

Maker Mayhem #2

Granny and Shady Lady: When “craft” crosses the line If you’ve reached the point where you’re buying press-on fingernails and fake eyelashes and full-sized adult nylon wigs to glue onto life-size human figures made of old queen-size support pantyhose, you’ve slid way past the realm of “craft project” and crossed the threshold into some kind of personal hell for which there is probably a psychiatric diagnosis—and no return. This horror show from 1982 is arguably the lowest point of a very dark but fortunately short-lived period in which pantyhose were considered a viable crafting medium. And clearly, the world of pantyhose crafts was one without boundaries, as evidenced by “Granny and Shady L

Maker Mayhem #1

The Floating Playpen: Summer fun, or cruel and unusual punishment? Anyone who’s ever spent a weekend at the lake with a toddler knows that toddlers are terrible beach company. They never sit still, they never shut up, they’re too small to carry an ice chest full of beer, and if you’re the adult responsible for ensuring their safety, it’s a pretty much a given that you’ll never get a moment’s peace. So how does a parent contain a child in a natural body of deep water without compromising their own good time? The Floating Playpen was created in the adult-centric early ‘60s, long before the entire freaking world was child-proofed; when you could pop open a bottle of prescription pain killers wi

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