I've seen setup's like this in old Mechanics Illustrated magazines archived in the big public libraries and University libraries. It was back in the 1920's and up till the time of WW2. Somehow those were different times and publications like "The Boy Mechanic", and "The Boy Electrician" were around so that boys could learn skills growing up. After WW2 it seemed somehow to be different.
Perhaps it was because of the industrialization and availability of machine made eloquences that "things" could be purchased on "charge accounts" and with that the pride, sense of accomplishment, honor, and dignity of being able to say..."I designed and built that with my own hands", became vintage notions.
There isn't much that's really new under the sun. There are a lot of revivals of older ideas with new spins or materials that offer a new approach to doing things.
Your Public Library may have computer access to much of this old stuff I speak of. Often it is available thru EBSCO and you need to find a Librarian MLS in reference who knows how to help you.
This example is just the covers I found of old Popular Mechanics . Some of the old libraries actually have original copies in binders going back to those old times where you can look thru each month for that year.
I find a lot of reprints of old articles and books available from older times at
Lindsay's Technical Books
So if you see something that looks strange by todays standards, it likely is a blast from the past being revisited.