Can you imagine your morning walks without the stroller? How about carrying your little one on your hip in a sling or even a wicker basket?
Before there were strollers, parents would have to find alternatives for baby transportation. Luckily, in 1773, the first stroller entered the market, changing the world as we know it.
But, here’s what’s interesting:
Strollers were not always so budget-friendly or versatile. Today, strollers resemble nothing like their predecessors.
If you want to learn about the glorious baby stroller history and how they became a necessity, we have prepared a detailed trip down memory lane.
Baby Strollers Through the Years
1. Invention of the stroller
The architect William Kent invented the first baby stroller in 1733 to favor the third Duke Devonshire’s children. The embellished design resembled a shell-shaped basket pulled by a goat or a small pony. The Duke’s children could ride not only in comfort but in style as well.
Since the pattern was unique and not yet ready for mass production, the first baby carriage was only available to the higher class.
The first baby carriages manufactured in the Hitchings Baby Store. Once royalty like Queen Victoria bought three carriages, strollers became widely popular.
2. The invention of the first pram
Charles Burton invented the first perambulator, or pram for short, in 1848.
From its initial design, the baby stroller went through several design changes. Most notably were the handles that allowed for manual maneuvering. The alteration meant that strollers no longer had to be pulled by animals. Now, family and servants could hand-push the baby stroller themselves.
Burton soon gained the trust of royal clients such as Queen Isabel and Queen Victoria. However, these prams were often considered dangerous for young infants due to their unstable and tall design.
The first baby pram arrived in America when toy manufacturer Benjamin Potter Crandall marketed the patent. Although the invention was not welcomed in the United States initially, Crandall developed quite a few models with his son.
3. The first reversible stroller
The late 1800s brought the first reversible stroller when William H. Richardson made a crucial modification. With his suggestion, the reversible stroller could now reach forward-facing and rear-facing positions. The person pushing the baby stroller now had complete control and comfort.
Richardson suggests upgrading to axels that allow all four wheels to turn independently. Thanks to the modified design, the sleeping baby could rest in its stroller and not be bothered with swift motions.
The early strollers were further altered by the seating area as well. In addition, the design introduced features such as an umbrella-style canopy and a lie-flat position for a sleeping baby.
4. Strollers in the early 1900s
After World War II, the commodification of the baby stroller reached growth with all social classes. In addition, the increased birth rate of the 1950s now required strollers to be as safe as possible.
But, here’s what’s interesting:
The early stroller was not the safest transportation means for the babies. New times called for a change. The strollers of the early 1900s prioritized safety along with the lower price tag.
The new design incorporated foot brakes, sturdier frames, larger wheels, and deeper pram baskets. The deeper prams were initially introduced to prevent babies from crawling or falling out of the stroller. Plus, the overall design was much lower to the ground.
A change in materials was also noticed. Instead of the heavy wicker and metal frame, baby strollers could now support older babies with reinforced chrome design. In addition, expensive brass joints were replaced, and the strollers became much easier to manage.
5. The mid 1900s: the birth of the umbrella stroller & double stroller
Parents with twins or kids with a small age gap rely on double and triple pushchairs. However, did you ever wondered:
How exactly was the first double stroller created?
It was with a patent of Harris W. Williams that double strollers were invented in the 1940s. The "double-decker" model required one child to sit behind the other. Today, we have a very similar design. However, the more popular version is side-by-side strollers. The majority of double strollers were designed primarily to accommodate multiple births.
The stroller industry was then introduced with the umbrella stroller in 1965 when Owen Maclaren decided to create a lightweight alternative. Maclaren was an aeronautical engineer who used a combination of aircraft aluminum to create the first umbrella stroller. He even founded the British company Maclaren, known for its wide range of buggies.
Much like today’s prams, Maclaren’s design was practical and lightweight.
The umbrella strollers were designed to keep the babies secure while being maneuverable. They also featured a collapsible design, which made city walks much more manageable.
The strollers of the mid-1900s were sturdier but also suitable for traveling. Previous versions had to compromise safety and weight, relying mainly on heavy-duty materials.
6. The late 1900s: the birth of the jogging stroller
Active parents can thank Phil Baechler for inventing the first-ever jogging stroller! In 1983, the jogging design was first known as "Baby Jogger."
As a passionate runner, Baechler wanted to create a stroller he could use on his morning runs with his infant son. But, as it was impossible to go over rough terrain with regular strollers, Baechler took the matter into his own hands. Soon enough, the well-known three-wheeled jogging strollers were born. It offered a smooth ride for both the baby and the parent!
They reached worldwide success, while the single and double strollers for jogging were in the making. Only three years later, the Baby Jogger company created a double jogger called "The Twinner." This one-of-a-kind product suited parents with more kids, particularly twins.
7. Modern baby strollers
Looking back on the first baby carriage, the modern stroller of today had to be subject to numerous changes to reach perfection. While they were prestigious in the past, a stroller today is necessary for every parent!
Modern baby strollers are equipped with high-grade technological features, making them more advanced than some vehicles. High-tech strollers of today present models such as scooter hybrids, one-wheel strollers, bicycle strollers, and even power rolling strollers.
Models such as E-prams make it easier for the parents to stroll uphill while keeping their balance. However, high-tech strollers are expensive and not a good long-term solution.
If you are a parent of more than one child, you can now venture into twin pushchairs or even triple buggies! Most triple buggies offer a detachable baby seat. The seat adjustment allows parents to reach the perfect angle of recline, suitable for the baby’s age.
Stroller Through History: Breakdown of Most Important Events
Why is a stroller called a stroller?
The term "stroller" is derived from the verb "to stroll", or walk around. A stroller is commonly used in the U.S. and Canada, while the U.K. uses the term pram. The term refers to a pushchair on wheels designed to carry young infants and toddlers.
How did people carry babies before strollers?
Before strollers, people used to carry babies in a sling, baby carrier, or wicker basket. Baby carriers trace back to 1303 when Mary carried Jesus in a sling on her chest.
Baby carrying allowed parents to complete their daily chores free-handed. A frame backpack was commonly used to carry older babies due to their weight.
Who invented the baby buggy in 1889?
William H. Richardson remodeled the first baby buggy in 1889. However, it was William Kent who created the baby carriage model. Richardson improved the design of the baby carriage by including a reversible baby seat.
When did strollers become popular?
Baby strollers gained worldwide popularity after World War II and the Baby Boom period. The increased birth rate required parents to invest in a hand-push device for baby transportation.
Unlike the heavy baby carriage, the mid-20th century strollers were lightweight, safe, and cost-effective. The lower price tag increased the popularity of strollers as now the majority of people could afford them.
Who invented the baby stroller and scooter hybrid?
Valentin Vodev invented the baby stroller and Scooter hybrid under "Roller Buggy." It’s a multifunctional scooter that transforms into a baby buggy. Designed for active parents, the buggy is suitable for fast transportation over flat terrains.
The hybrid stroller is made from lightweight aluminum, rubber, and plastic and weighs 44 lbs. The Roller Buggy allows parents to remove the baby seat entirely and use the device as a scooter only.
The invention of baby carriages and strollers changed the world of parenting for good! Nowadays, strollers are a necessity for city dwellers as well as travelers.
With various types, shapes, and designs of strollers, you can easily find the one that fits your daily needs the most.
We hope you have appreciated the brief history of strollers and got to know your favorite baby gear better!