A Brief History of Bird Cages Through Time

Hendryx, round, hanging pagoda-style bird cage with a brass-wire seed screen and side-out tray.
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Up and Coming Classics

According to Cristiano, The 50s are hot. Atomic age stuff and cages produced when parakeets (budgies) came into popular culture and still available at garage sales. You’ll notice that cages became a little plainer after WWII.


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They’re out there, and many are still usable and reasonably priced. Grandma’s attic has some good selections too! Check the bottom tray on any cage you may be considering; bird droppings may have burned holes through the metal.


I was quite taken with the translucent plastic Atomic Age (1945-1954) cage in Cristiano’s collection. The shape is evocative of a vintage radio.

Fabricated of a plastic, pre-acrylic material, the cage was found in an antique shop in Bellport, New York. Kandace Westhoff located her smaller version on an Internet auction site.


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Cristiano says people love this model. I’ve seen it in two sizes and three colors: clear, green and orange. They’re very fragile; light exposure makes the plastic even more brittle and may cause discoloration.


The process is called solarizing. Cristiano advises: If you’re lucky enough to have one of these cages, keep it out of direct sunlight.

Although the decorative designs on the plastic are quite intricate, there are no identifying marks or manucaturers’ names on the plastic cages.

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Cristiano explained that at the time, many people in rural America shopped through catalogs, thus purchasing non-branded items. Many cages were also stamped at local stores. Even some hardware stores put their own names on the cages they offered.

Cristiano said that some vintage cages are still in good condition that they’re often suitable for avian habitation. He recalled seeing a large, bell shaped parrot cage with no bottom.
The owner used a piece of majolica serving-ware as a base! However, much of his market is to collectors and for decorative use. He sometimes gets lectures from people who assume all the cages are marketed as bird homes.
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What applies today, wasn’t always the norm. Today, people buy large cages for their birds. In the past, the cages were small, but the birds were out, chained to a perch for most of the day. (Don’t try this at home: leg chains are dangerous!) The small cages served as beds at nights.