A look at the baby carriage.
The English architect William Kent invented the baby carriage in 1733. He created it for the children of the Duke of Devonshire. This first baby carriage was a shell-shaped basket attached to wheels, and was low to the ground so that it could be pulled by a goat or pony. A number of other designs were created in the years that followed. These models were made of wood or wicker, with heavy and expensive metal parts. These heavy carriages were called “perambulators”, or “pram” for short.
Prams and heavy carriages became less common after lighter strollers and buggies were introduced in the 1970s. In 1965, an English engineer named Owen Maclaren used aircraft aluminum to make a much lighter frame for a stroller. He founded the company Maclaren, which is still a popular maker of strollers and baby carriers in England.
- The first reversible buggy was patented by William H. Richardson in 1889. He designed it so that the child could face forward, or toward the person pushing the buggy. This model also allowed the wheels to turn separately, which made the buggy easier to steer.
- Ancient ways of carrying babies include simple slings, backpack carriers, or cradleboards. A cradleboard was made from a flat piece of wood and wrapped in skins or soft material. A baby in a cradleboard would be wrapped tightly so that only the child’s head could move.