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Collapsible and Portable Book Cradle


John Armstrong, master of all trades and my pal, designed this collapsible custom book cradle for use with a large set of over 200 oversize volumes. The challenge was:

  1. None of our current book cradles were large enough.
  2. The content of this set of volumes (Philadelphia Maritime Exchange Records) is such that researchers use 2 to 4 volumes simultaneously.
  3. The book cradles should be stored with the volumes, on already-cramped shelves.

John will be tweaking the design and making a total of four cradles, which I like to call the Franklin Street PortaCradle — named after John’s burgeoning tote bag business, Franklin Street (via Etsy).

I need to post photos of the tote John made me which is waxed cotton, blue, and awesome.

(video via Flickr; or video via YouTube if you prefer)

Update: John made four more PortaCradles on July 31.  We ended up using three of them the very next week for a researcher.  Check below for an action shot.

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  1. Rob S.
    August 4th, 2009 at 09:36 | #1

    That is a thing of beauty. I am green with envy! Forget the totebags — you and John should go into business making/selling Franklin Street PortaCradles. Then use your newfound wealth to endow archival internships.

  2. matt
    August 4th, 2009 at 10:51 | #2

    @Rob S.
    Just last Friday, John made four more PortaCradles…man, I should have taken a picture when they were all lined up. I love them too much.

  3. Jim G.
    August 4th, 2009 at 12:38 | #3

    Very nice cradles! Takes up so much less room than all those pieces of foam. You should talk to someone at Gaylord, Hollinger/Metal Edge, etc. Or, follow Rob’s advice and go into business for yourselves!

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