Strollers have come a long way in the last couple hundred years. For many years parents relied on slings or cradleboards to tote their toddlers around.
Then, someone came up with the bright idea to roll children beside them on wheels. As you can see can see from the following photos, there has been a steady evolution of design ever since.
1. High-Occupancy Pram
In the old days, there were no bike helmets. There were no seat belts. If you have any doubts about how far we’ve come as a society, you can look at a photo of a 10-year-old smoking a cigarette and selling newspapers to make a living just 100 years ago.
We’ve come a long way with cigarette and child labor laws, and we’ve also come a long way with baby strollers. While today’s strollers are padded and decked out with safety features, the strollers used by English orphanages in the 1900s were a little less secure. Setting aside the inherent danger of putting 18 toddlers in a wagon pulled by a donkey, this is pretty adorable.
2. Spanish Wicker Buggy
This intricate wicker stroller is from the Can Papiol Romanticism Museum. The museum is essentially the preserved house of an early 19th-century family of aristocrats in Barcelona.
By preserving as much of the well-to-do family’s everyday possessions, the museum attempts to show a day in the life. This stroller doesn’t look super ergonomic to push or comfortable to sit in, but it is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. We’re guessing that the baby who got pushed around in this carriage had a pretty sweet life.
3. Victorian Carrier
If you were born into an orphanage, you got stuck in the 18-seat pram pulled by a donkey. If you were born to nobility, you rode around in this elegant contraption.
While we can’t attest to modern safety features like brakes or harnesses, this baby probably had a full-time nanny to ensure his safety. We’re particularly impressed with the retractable awning on such an old carriage.
4. Covered Stroller
This photo comes from a U.S. Copyright Office in 1913. While it can’t match the previous stroller regarding comfort and appearance, it provided an affordable way to protect your child from the rain.
There are few details known about this particular stroller. It seems to fit the particularly American mold of making luxury items available to more people by simplifying the design and stripping away some of the flourishes.
5. Space-Age Carriage
Finally, we arrive at the sci-fi stroller. This Hungarian product looks straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey. The simple red and white color scheme make it as stylish as any stroller on this list. Of course, the fashionable mom helps complete the look.
Modern strollers are probably safer than this one, which appears to have been designed with aesthetics in mind more than safety. It’s perhaps a little top-heavy, and the shallow seat wouldn’t protect a child as much as a deeper one. Still, we’d line up to buy this stroller if it were available today.