Antique Baby Strollers

Early Victorian Baby Stroller

Here is an email I received from a reader:
Dear Johanne: About 8 years ago, I met a 90 year old lady who had a very old Victorian real baby stroller she wanted to sell. She had a daughter who sadly did not want it. I bought it with the promise that if I were to sell it that the story of it would be passed along with it – no matter how many hands it passed down to.
She told me and my husband that every generation from her great great grandmother to her daughter had been pushed in it. She had made a promise to her own mother, like her grandmother did, that the stroller would stay in the family as long as possible. Her daughter’s break with this beautiful tradition broke her heart.
I have no clue what this stroller is worth and we are hoping to sell it after 8 years of owning it. We found out the lady passed away that fall after we bought it. I have been able to trace it back a long ways just based on what she has told us however, I do not know what to ask for it. That’s hopefully where you come in? It is told to us to be an old Victorian Baby Stroller and it is either early 1800 or even earlier. I am not totally sure either on that? Wendy H.

Dear Wendy: Thanks for the email. One of the best ways to identify any commercially made object is to look for the maker of the object and then do research on the company. This gives you an idea of when the company was in business and by the same token when your item would have been made. I believe that your stroller is indeed very old because it is facing away from the pusher. In 1898 the patent for reversing the buggy to face the person pushing the carriage was filed. The earliest strollers were not made to be pushed but pulled. I was amazed to find out that Kent , the great architect and builder of many palatial British homes, invented the baby buggy – wait till I let my furniture students know!

Now as far as value goes.. I am not sure. Such a buggy may not be worth as much as one might think. I’ll tell you why.

1. The market for baby buggies / strollers is not huge. People admire them but don’t want to store them in their home because they are practical antiques.

2. There are strict safety codes for the sale of anything to do with babies and young children. The same goes for high chairs etc. Be very careful about the way you describe your stroller – do not insinuate that the person buying it can use it for a living child or you may be held liable. Describe it as a collectible.

3. This leaves the collectors. Collectors really gravitate towards the later Victorian versions made of wicker and wood. These old buggies are especially popular with doll collectors. Your example is quite plain even though it is very old. I have never sold a stroller above $350. For info on how much others are charging now however check out Ebay. Think of the market in which you are selling and go from there. If you are selling it through Kijiji be prepared to have to dicker over price. Check out the web sites I sent you and cut and copy info to be passed on to the new owner.

I admire you for being a person of her word and doing what the elderly lady asked you to do. No doubt she is watching you right now.

4 responses to “Antique Baby Strollers

  1. i wanted to ask if someone could tell me what years the pull baby strollers were made. the one i have is a pull stroller with 2 large spoke wheels in front (about 8″ diamater) and 2 small rubber wheels in back (about 3″ diamater). The smaller ones are not in use when the stroller is being pulled. The seat and top cover are canvas. It has wood arm rests and the frame is metal. i don’t know any thing about the histroy of this stroller, so just curious. Thanks!!!

  2. What a very lovely story!
    I have an antique rocker, which has been in the family for many generations. I believe it is a nursing chair, as the arms are a little lower than is usual. The seat and back may have originally been caned, but this has been replaced with wood, long before my time. I believe the chair was made in the Eastern Townships of Ont, or Que. mid 1800′s. It appears to be maple, and the original paint on it was ochre stained buttermilk paint. It has rocked at least 7 generations, and is passed to the eldest girl in the family for the price of 25cents, which I was told was its original purchase price at an auction. Unfortunately, I have no daughters. So when the time comes, I am hoping one of my boys will want it. It is also unfortunate that my eldest boy, in a temper when he was small, threw the chair, and broke one of the runners. I was able to repair it so it is not easily noticed and it doesnt affect the rocking action…but gee I sure was angry with him, that something so precious to me, that had been in the family so long undamaged, was ruined by him. Dratted child.

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