Pram History – Perambulatory Stroll Through Time
Traveling with your baby in a stroller today is about as common as hopping in the car to take a trip. Most parents of babies have a stroller. However, rolling around with a baby is a relatively new phenomena. Pram history is a fascinating tale of the origins of the modern baby stroller and transporting a child through the world of today. Originally the concept was for the aristocracy high society families but today any family is free to experience the joy and excitement of traveling with a pram.
Transporting a baby away from home is a relatively modern concept. Before the development of the pram or baby carriage, in the west, most infants remained at home for the better part of their first few years. During the nineteenth century western civilization sought to give parents the option to carry their child away from the crib. The first pram to be invented is credited with William Kent who in 1733 invented a pram for an aristocratic family. During the mid-nineteenth century the pram was modified to allow the baby to lie down and be pushed rather than pulled. Before most pram’s positioned the child sitting in a carriage made from wicker. And during this time each component of the pram was produced by a specialist. However, as the popularity increased the production was eventually moved to a factory. It was also at this time in the west that the pram became thought of as a status symbol used by high society. By the 1920’s prams were used by everyone and charities were giving them to single mothers. At the close of the nineteenth century the pram saw improvements in design such as added suspension, brakes and rubber tires. Then after World War II plastic, fiberglass and power steering was introduced.
The next big change to the pram came by way of the Maclaren Company’s revolutionary change from the traditional design to one termed “pushchair”. And the Maclaren Company further brought change in the 1980’s with the smaller, compact “buggy” design. And finally today the umbrella stroller is a popular item for most new parents.
Cultural Variations of Baby Transport
While the west was slow to catch onto the concept of traveling with a new born, many other cultures throughout history had their own way to take baby along for a trip away from home.
The Egyptians were known to have used slings to carry their infants as have other indigenous cultures throughout the world. The cradleboard is a means of baby travel used heavily by the Native American tribes of North America. Not only were they used for travel but they would also allow the wearer to bring their baby with them while they worked and the cradleboard could also be hung on a saddle or travois for travel too. The Chinese have used a type of sling carried on the front of the wearer called a Mei Tai for most of their society’s history.
Thankfully the idea and way of traveling with your child by a pram is still utilized today. There are many great options available to the parent who wishes to exude a sense of style and fashion while pushing their little one around. The pram is still used by parents with a sense of nostalgia and a flare for the vintage yesteryear style of baby travel.