It has been estimated that during the 1950s, as many as 60 million Americans were involved in various handyman-associated hobbies. The decade has been referred to as the age of do-it-yourself. Ultimately, the DIY movement would also be the beginning of the home-improvement industry.
Earl Cady opened Modern Floor Covering at 426 3rd Ave. SE in 1951, promoting the phenomenon of “productive leisure.” Cady knew that common projects for most homeowners would include new flooring. Using a traveling roadshow practice, he was able to offer his customers instructional clinics on how they could upgrade their floors in just one weekend by making it a father-and-son project.
Even today, that do-it-yourself attitude promotes the idea that the pleasure and joy of making something with your own two hands has both psychological and therapeutic benefits, not unlike throwing a hammer across the workshop.
“Lens on History” is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.