In other parts of the world, specifically the East, the sling or wrap is the most popular type of baby carrying apparatus, which often only consists of a piece of cloth, which is tied around the parent. In America and most parts of the West, the baby stroller is the most popular form of baby transportation. The stroller is over two hundred years old and has since changed tremendously.
The first baby stroller is usually attributed to an Englishman named William Kent in 1773. While working as a garden architect, he was asked by the Duke of Devonshire to construct something that could be used to carry his children. Kent constructed a stroller, that was designed to be pulled by an animal, such as a small pony. As news of his invention spread, many other royal families designed similar carriages for their children.
Within a hundred years of the Kent Carriage, baby strollers would become incredibly popular throughout England. By 1840, carriages were designed that could be pushed by the parent and used wooden baskets to hold the baby. These were often extravagantly decorated and they were given names the Princess or Duchess, as a result of their popularity with Queen Victoria.
One of the next innovations to take place would occur in 1889. William Richardson invented and patented a type of stroller that had independently moving wheels. Prior carriages had used a single axle for each set of wheels. By allowing independent movement, Richardson was able to greatly improve the maneuverability of his stroller. His stroller also featured a reversible baby basket, which allowed the parent to push the stroller with the baby facing towards them or away.
While strollers were incredibly popular during the eighteen hundreds, it would not be until the nineteen-twenties that the stroller became accessible to the middle class. By this time, advances in technology and building design had cut the cost of these devices and most families in the West owned one. Manufactures began including other features during this time, such as brakes, larger wheels, and bigger baskets to hold the baby.
Over the next forty years, the stroller would undergo many changes, but they tended to be fairly bulky, so transporting them could be very difficult. After hearing this complaint from his daughter, an aeronautical engineer named Owen Maclaren set out to build a travel stroller. He used a lightweight aluminum tube frame and created the umbrella stroller.
Today, there are many different types of strollers. They often feature independent suspension and larger wheels, to improve their off-road capabilities. Most are still foldable and are designed to be as lightweight as possible. A number of these strollers feature a removable baby basket, so if the child is asleep, they can be removed from the stroller, potentially, without waking. Some 3 in 1 carriages are also available. These function as a stroller, a car seat, and a carrycot.
The foundation laid by Maclaren and others like him have helped to shape the form of the current stroller.