William Kent developed an early pram in 1733. He was a garden architect in England who had become well known for his work. In 1733, the Duke of Devonshire asked Kent to build a means of transportation that would carry his children. Kent obliged by constructing a shell shaped basket on wheels that the children could sit in. This was richly decorated and meant to be pulled by a goat or small pony. By 1840, the baby carriage became extremely popular. Queen Victoria bought three carriages from Hitchings Baby Store.
The carriages of those days were built of wood or wicker and held together by expensive brass joints. These sometimes became heavily ornamented works of art. Models were also named after royalty, Princess and Duchess being popular names, as well as Balmoral and Windsor.
In June 1889, William Richardson patented his idea of the first reversible stroller. The bassinet was designed so it could face out or in towards the parent. He also made structural changes to the carriage. Until then the axis did not allow each wheel to move separately, Richardson’s design allowed this, which increased maneuverability of the carriages.
As the 1920s began, modern baby carriages were now available to all families. They were also becoming safer, as new features like larger wheels, brakes, deeper prams, and lower, sturdier frames began to appear.
In 1965, Owen Maclaren, an aeronautical engineer, worked on complaints his daughter made about traveling from England to America with her heavy pram. Using his knowledge of aeroplanes, Maclaren designed a stroller with an aluminum frame and created the first true umbrella stroller. He then went on to found Maclaren which manufactured and sold his new design. The design took off and soon “strollers” were easier to transport and used everywhere.
Since the 1980s, the stroller industry has developed with new features, safer construction and more accessories.