In the span of nearly 300 years, mothers have been seen sporting the most fashionably practical accessory in carrying their little bundles of joy- the stroller. Other names include pram (perambulator), child or baby carriers, and baby buggies. This device started out as a heavy, bulky, transport that was built more for fashion than function. The first stroller ever seen was conceived by a man called William Kent. It was 1733 and the Duke of Devonshire was looking for a convenient way to carry his children. William Kent, who was also a painter and architect, was hired to do the job. His design included a shell shaped carriage that could be driven by goats, dogs, or Shetland ponies. This little carriage was heavy, had no handles, and was decorated with snake designs. The only good thing about the carriage was that it was designed with springs for comfort. It soon became widely accepted amongst nobles to have small carriages. In fact, the trend was that the small carriages should have ornate designs so everyone understood that you had a high social standing. A hundred years later, William H. Richardson forged a new baby carriage that included handles and also wheels that could move 360 degrees. The wheels allowed more safety and stability that the previous carriage lacked. This type of pram included a bassinet that could be turned towards or away from the person pushing it. In a way, Richardson's design has become the norm for modern carriages today. After World War I, baby carriages became available to everyone. No longer were they the expensive, heavily gilded, slightly awkward types that Kent made, they became more practical, cheaper and safer. Additional safety measures soon became evident with the inclusion of footbrakes, larger wheels and deeper interiors. In the year 1965, an aeronautical engineer named Owen Maclaren had an idea when his daughter returned from a long and tiring trip. According to his daughter, her baby carriage was too heavy and large to lug around during her trip from the United States to Britain. Using his understanding of airplane manifolds, Maclaren designed the first true "baby buggy". The design included a lightweight and sturdy aluminum frame that could be folded and stored away when not in use, much like an umbrella. This Umbrella Buggy is the standard look of almost all the buggies today. These days, the stroller is being upgraded continuously to include more comfort and safety features. Different brands offer specific styles and features that could impress even picky mothers. Whatever brand or type of stroller you use, it is always important to salute those who've gone out of their way to ensure the safety of our little passengers.
2010-07-11 8:33am PDT
Thanks for this article!