I was born in the late 60's and even tho I was only spanked by my grandfather a couple of times ( the thought of disappointing him mixed with the fear of the threat to heat up my fanny was enough) I can attest to seeing several spankings of friends and cousins .
I had several great aunts and uncles ( older generation) that did indeed keep a paddle hung up in the broom closet or pantry in plain view and if you were to get into enough trouble they would have no reserve using it on their own children as well as their nieces ,nephews or grandchildren and that was not only tolerated but it was expected.
I do think that the era you grew up in , along with economics , religions,and cultures has a lot ( not 100%) to do with discipline techniques . I am of Portuguese and French descent , both very large families and of all my Portuguese relatives I can not remember any of them with the belief of " sparing the rod" . To them you were not a good parent if you didnt discipline your children with a good spanking when " needed" no matter where you were.
My French side , while still most but not all spanked reserved it for most severe offenses and it was more quiet and private .
While both sides were decendents of farmers and neither considered poor and were somewhat educated I had several friends that were much more lets say affluent . And the thought of a spanking seemed almost barbaric to them.
Just goes to show how family dynamics , in so many instances of child rearing can be quite different from household to household and wether or not it is publicy displayed for all to see is not always what you get .