Metal High Chairs and Wind-Up Swings

ole-greenTHIS was my highchair each time I visited my Grammy and Peeps’ house for holidays and other family gatherings. Not only did I actually use this high chair at one point, but it was also my mother’s and her siblings’ when they were children. And yes, the photo above is the actual high chair. My grandfather, Peeps, was too stubborn to toss the rusted metal chair with the pathetic green cushion, in hopes that he would one day use it for a great-grandbaby. Unfortunately, he passed this year before any great-grandbabies were in progress.

I am single with no children, no nieces or nephews (hopefully one of my brothers will step-up to the plate soon!) and only two months into my role with Graco. Prior to this, “ole’ green” was the only knowledge I had of baby gear. Needless to say, when I saw the Blossom video for the first time, I realized that I was significantly deprived as a child and so were my parents.

Even more proof of my parents’ deprivation came last week as I was preparing for a photo shoot and I had to assemble the new Graco Snuggly Safari SweetPeace. I was staying with my parents in Marietta, GA so the assembly took place in their living room. As I started to put the parts together, I noticed my mom grew more and more interested and would make comments every few pieces, “What kind of swing is that?” Another piece…. “Wait, oh!” And the best comment came as I added the last piece of the base, “I guess, no more wind-ups?” Once I placed the seat into the base and plugged it in, fascination set in.

My mom and I stood over the seat for at least 45 minutes entertained by the different music it plays and the speeds of the swing. As my mom’s “grandbaby clock” ticked louder and louder, my dad came home from running errands. The pow-wow around the SweetPeace grew as my mom proceeded to show my dad all the features of the swing. My parents shared their fond memories about their old wind-up swing and were envious (maybe a little jealous) of the new products today. Mom and Dad would have a field day in the Graco show-room where we keep all of our shiny new products!

As far as we have come from this green, metal highchair and wind-up baby swing, these old, worn items still have significance in our lives and strike up conversations of celebrating holidays, family birthdays and laughs about “the old days” (who doesn’t love those stories?) And although I plan to make memories with my children around newly innovated baby gear, it wouldn’t feel right to retire “ole’ green” from our family gatherings.

As a tribute to my Peeps and his stubborn desire to put his first great-grandbaby in “ole’ green”, I’m sure the chair will make an appearance at a Thanksgiving down the road (even if we don’t end up actually putting our kids in there!) He would still be proud.

Share stories of your “ole’” baby gear…

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14 Responses to “Metal High Chairs and Wind-Up Swings”

  1. Victoria Mason November 24, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    I had a brown plaid, wool (!) stroller in that old pram design and a matching high chair. It was metal too. My neighbor has one just like it that she uses on her 11 mos. old still. yes, really. It sort of scares me.

  2. Jennifer @ J. Leigh Designz November 24, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    I don’t have anything still from my childhood but just in the time from my 9 year old son to know there are so many new options!

    I saw that swing(in a different pattern) at General Mills and it rocked!

  3. Donna November 24, 2009 at 8:17 pm #

    Great Post Allison! The first swing I remember — I bought for my daughter… It was modern lol – not wind up … It was powered by a really cute bear that hugged the pole. You gave it a little push and the bear was a weight that kept them momentum going. it worked great! no electric, no batteries…. not as good as a Sweetpeace tho! Thanks be to the founders of Graco – baby swings rock! I need to find a picture of that swing!

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  6. David Earp February 12, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Happened to stumble across this web listing in my search for a Graco wind up swing. We bought a new Graco Swyngomatic and chrome framed highchair when our daughter was old enough to use them in 1986. Being a more sentimental person, I was planning to hang onto both of them should grandkids come along later on. Sadly, we were cleaning up the basement a couple years back and the box containing the swing seat must have gotten mixed up with boxes of stuff being tossed. I went digging for it recently and it’s nowhere to be found – all I have are the legs. :( I’m hoping to find an exact replacement for the swing seat and wind up mechanism on ebay or elsewhere. It won’t be the one our babies used, but at least will look identical. It has the teddy bear with balloons and/or blocks on the seat back. We still have the highchair which has mainly grey vinyl seat/back pads and a cloth seat back cover having a rocking horse and hearts on it. I wouldn’t part with it for anything, but I’d love to find the replacement swing some day.

  7. Carole February 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Hi, David you might not want the old style swing when you check out the new ones! I bought my grandson a Sweetpeace swing and my son recently returned it to me for my foster baby. This swing is terrific!! My little is using it now. I have bought so many Graco products for my kids over the years. I get excited when they develop something new, like the sweetpeace or the Harmony high chair a few years ago. I have had the old plastic high chairs and the new ones that recline are so much nicer. I remember the patterns you describe, my daughter was born in 1987. Carole

  8. Janet February 20, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    I have an old swingomatic wind-up swing by Graco. I just cleaned it up for my first grand-daughter’s visit. I may buy a new model, but for now I sure have enjoyed the memory of my three sons swinging for hours in that yellow vinyl seat. My oldest son was born in 1978. I am looking for a replacement music box for it. Can anyone help me with this endeavor? Janet

  9. David Earp February 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Carole, you’re right about the newer swings having some nicer features. I remember two drawbacks with our old wind-up swing: First, it only would give baby 15 minutes of swinging on one winding. Second, it had that click-click-click rachet sound while winding which would disturb our daughter’s napping if it wasn’t done very slowly. The slower the wind, the softer the clicking sound. The main reason I’d like an exact replacement is for sentimental reasons. We have pics of her napping in the swing and I’d still love to have that same swing back again. Still kicking myself for getting those boxes mixed up. Janet, I remember seeing one with the yellow vinyl seat. It also had a vinyl awning, with a green floral print if I remember correctly, which layed over the swing bar and attached to the legs.

    In an unrelated question, does anyone know if the cloth seats for the Graco Jumpster and Bumper Jumper doorway bouncers are interchangable? I have one for the Jumpster, but was curious if the Bumper Jumper seat frame has the identical seat pad attachments. Visually, they look identical in seat size. Thanks! -Dave

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  12. Carol July 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    That Graco high chair with the metal tray and metal foot rest which can be moved up and down for the childs legs to fit and rest properly was the best high chair I invested in. It’s sad that they make all the plastic stuff today. Yes, modern technology might be where people are going, but how many of the plastic chairs hold up as well as the metal? I’ve seen so many recalls on baby furniture made from plastic that to me it isn’t always as safe.

  13. baby high chair September 29, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    I love the look of the older chairs. I would so put my child in it for a few occasions. I think a lot of products that are older are still in use and able to be used for the still to this day because wonderful quality. They may not be eye appealing but the history always makes things better!

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