Of perambulators and strollers…

It isn’t often that I come across a word that I am unfamiliar with.

Today – chanced upon “perambulator”. Or pram as we know it.

I love reading up on origins, and so I dived straight into the perambulator and came to understand that we had to thank William Kent, who designed the first “thing that perambulates”.

Perambulate – “walk or travel through or round a place or area, especially for pleasure and in a leisurely way.” for instance: “the locals perambulate up and down the thoroughfare”

Usually used in a humorous connotation, I wonder why this contraption was christened the perambulator. Maybe because it travelled slowly? Or because it was an odd sight – a baby in a carriage pulled by a goat or small pony? One may never know.

Anyways, the perambulator was meant to carry a sleeping, or supine infant, and so was quite exquisite, expensive and made to order. It slowly evolved, with Wiliam Richardson making the first reversible pram and Oven Maclaren making many structural adjustments to convert the heavy perambulator into it’s current avatar – the stroller.

The difference, technically, lies in the fact that the perambulator did not originally have an option to make the baby sit up, and so no harnesses or safety devices. The stroller on the other hand, was lighter, easier to wield and had safety harnesses so that the infant could be ferried around both lying down and sitting up.

And parents the world over, including me, can vouch for it. It is a life saver, and by whatever name you call it, the perambulator/pram/stroller is one invention that we are truly thankful for.

Happy perambulation!