A Man Named William Kent and His Stroller

Few people know about the inventor of the stroller. His name was William Kent, born the 1st of January, 1685, died on the 12th of April 1748. In many references, he is known to be an architect, a landscape artist, and a furniture designer. Few people know his relation to creating baby carriages.

William Kent is better known for reviving the Palladian style of architecture in England. As a landscape artist, he lacked horticultural knowledge to deliver the full impact of gardens, but naturalistic approach to the gardens paved his way to works such as the gardens found in Rousham House, Oxfordhire or Alexander Pope’s garden villa. Thus he became the father of modern gardening. As a furniture designer, Kent’s style was much loved that his designs can still be seen at the Hampton Court Palace and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwhich.

Kent was so popular in his day that he was even called to design ladies birthday dresses. Though he knew nothing about designing dresses, he decorated the dresses with his knowledge about the Five Classical Orders of Architecture.

Due to his popularity, the Duke of Devonshire called Kent’s attention to make him a stroller for his children. It was 1733 and William Kent was at the height of his career. Kent invented a small shell-shaped carriage that was made of wicker, had snake designs and was pulled by goats, Shetland ponies or dogs. This stroller had added springs on the seats for comfort and was mainly used for toddlers. Unfortunately, his carriage was very heavy and the cost for making them was high. In those days, having a carriage to carry your children was a status symbol of the privileged; the more ornate and complex your carriage, the better your chances of being accepted in high society. It wasn’t much later that strollers were designed with added safety features like handlebars and brakes.