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Saturday, June 11, 2011


Audrey Hepburn
Recently, my daydreams are enchanted visions of  a beloved child in lavish comfort, gently being pushed in a handsome, ornate, Victorian antique baby carriage perched up high on spoke wheels. It's a somewhere-in-time procession that conjures dreams of yesteryear. The dreams that tug at one's heart and stimulated the writing of this blog. Being a lover of antiques I too would love to wheel my new grandson in a carriage of the golden years.Would people find it strange? They wouldnt say anything about a classic car or would they ?

My Buggy though it may be old  is in perfect working order, it just goes to show how well made they all are that they are still here and in use, how many of todays buggy prams will still look as good in 50yrs time? I dont think any will as they dont seem to last much longer than a year or more, I have seen many a buggy dumped because it has broken.
These prams provide a warm dry haven in winter and an airy protection from the sun in summer, a place to sleep, play and be up out of the way of fumes from exhaust pipes of cars, there is also the added bonus of interaction between child and parent, not something you can have when baby or child faces away from you, there is plenty of space underneath for shopping to be put that wont cause the pram to tip up as so often happens with shopping loaded on handles of a buggy, they dont need extra plastic covers to keep the pram dry.
Too many people are lazy from using the car so much even for short journeys,the coachbuilt prams are eco friendly, I could use the exercise from walking.Maybe even organize a Pram Walk?
Did you know that in 1888 they had to have licenses in Germany before they could take their baby out in a pram.You had to show the license should you be stopped and you had to drive it on the right side of
the sidewalk.

 Have things really changed much since the 1800's? Strolling in the fresh air was considered a joy and necessary for good health and motherhood. Strolls thru the park were social events and the Victorian’s loved to meet with people and show off their wealth. This type of carriage acted a almost like a movable throne for displaying an infant. A woman could not proudly advertise her position as a mother without her little ones at her side. This type of baby carriage ensured her child was presented prominently facing passers-by rather than facing herself, demonstrating to all around her that she was a successful wife and mother.

The Victorian woman was concerned for proper ventilation and hygiene. Social books such as Rules of Conduct for Polite Society stressed that one should rejoice with nature. One's passion for nature was seen everywhere and eagerly brought indoors. Delicate flowers and leaves were collected to be pressed in books for keepsakes. In the parlor, collected shells were displayed and often crafted into mementos. This obsessive passion for nature and the outdoors visibly enhanced the quest for carriages.

 I am truly in love with a wicker carriage I purchased 20 years ago in a little antique store for $50.00.Its airy appearance increases a feeling of union with nature, and yet pleasing to the eye.To complete a carriage required three days of 12 to 14 hours. The hand process was slow and tedious, however, it enabled carriages from the golden era to survive today.While early carriages were made of willow, reed was preferred as it had the capability to take stain. Interior upholstery was made available in soft silk, tapestry, damask, velour or broadcloth in lush colors of sapphire, cardinal, golden brown, myrtle and more.I'm thinking I should give my carriage[ which I have named Daisy ] a coat of varnish and a new tapestry lining, or maybe go funky and leopard.She was made by The Fulton Company.Originally a go-cart manufacturer in Milwaukee, the Fulton Manufacturing Company was purchased in 1918 by legendary Bay City businessman William F. Jennison, renamed the Fulton Company and moved to mid-Michigan. It was organized to manufacture and sell children's furniture and accessories. The company no longer exists.

As the turn of the century drew near, the Golden Age of Carriage embellishment was tarnishing; sadly it was the end of the Victorian era. With the new century brought new ideas and styles. Carriage fanciers now considered them too garish and overdone. The modest, straight lines of the arts and crafts movement was in vogue. Carriages by the thousands were simply thrown away or burned, no reminder of such vulgar taste was considered proper.

So to end on a very positive note... each carriage that has survived over all these years carries with it the wonder of a child as he or she rode loving with his mother or nanny at his side. And each daughter, mimicking her mother would push her doll or bear in one that looked just like the one she rode in when she was small.The innocence of youth and the spirit of a child will always bring with it a warmth and charm that never goes away.