An Investigation of Modern Physics by Brian Williams
RSS icon Home icon
  • Prams – Design Gone Mad?

    Posted on May 6th, 2011 Brian No comments

    I was about 4 years old when I first learned to push a pram properly. I am not talking about a push-chair, those were easy to handle, even at 18 months old. I mean the old carriage built prams with the big wheels that normally ended up on trolleys and go-carts. After I had struggled for a few days I finally passed my test and my mother allowed me to transport my baby sister without having her guiding hand on the pram handle. After a week I could set the parking brake and just about put the hood up if it was raining. This was not easy because to me this pram was huge, I could only see my sister by standing on tip toe.

    69 years on I see adults struggling with pushchairs, (yes, pushchairs), that have been made using antiquated supermarket trolleys as the design standard. They are unwieldy, overweight and worse than supermarket trolleys for steering. They are frustrating to parents, take up too much space (at home and in the car), are overpriced and worst of all, are dangerous. Trapped fingers, broken nails, and like supermarket trolleys, are not interested in where you want to go.

    60 years ago push chairs went exactly where you wanted them to go, they were light, they were cheap, they folded up neatly and they were safe.


    Apart from the fact that that there is ‘Fashion’ to blame, the main problem is that nowadays knowledge and experience are ignored in favour of gimmicks. Every possible design of the pram was tried out in the 18th and 19th centuries. The carriage pram and the basic design of the push-chair were confirmed as the optimum for easy handling by young women (and 18 month olds).

    The most important basic design detail was that ‘no steering aids’ gave the best steering. Sounds silly but its true.

    Four fixed wheels gives a stable platform but also ensures that the pram travels in a straight line. Try pushing a modern push-chair in a straight line. As much energy is wasted in keeping to a straight line as is used in pushing the pram. (Just like the supermarket trolley)

    A slight pressure on the pram handle and the front wheels lift off the floor. The pram can now rotate freely on two wheels and will ‘turn on a sixpence’. If you push a pram with 4 fixed wheels along a 400 yard pavement you will probably have to make the occasional adjustment to it. Forgotten your purse? Slight pressure on the handle, swivel round, release pressure, and your on your way back.

    Four fixed wheels gives you total and easy control.

    I have little doubt that the modern push-chair was copied off the supermarket trolley. Unfortunately the supermarket trolley is designed to carry heavy loads and therefore cannot use four fixed wheels. Some Do-It-Yourself stores have adopted the principle of the original pram in having two main load bearing wheels to enable easy steering. Unfortunately, these are normally fitted with castor-wheels at both ends, so you are left with a trolley that is easy to turn but won’t travel in a straight line.

    Note that supermarket trolleys are based on factory trolleys and trucks which have to carry heavy loads. However, factory floors are normally flat and level. Although within the supermarket the floors are flat and level, the parking areas are not. In our local supermarket about 25% of the parking area is seriously sloped and sometimes it can take 4 or 5 attempts to get the trolley near to the car.

    Author; Brian Williams


    16 responses to “Prams – Design Gone Mad?”

    1. turkije

      I just couldn’t depart your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard info a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be back often to check up on new posts

    2. Hans Anderton

      This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

    3. spaccio hogan

      Throughout the awesome design of things you actually receive an A for hard work. Where you actually misplaced me ended up being on your specifics. You know, it is said, details make or break the argument.. And it could not be more correct at this point. Having said that, allow me say to you exactly what did do the job. Your authoring is certainly extremely persuasive and that is possibly why I am taking an effort to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, although I can easily see a jumps in reasoning you come up with, I am not confident of just how you appear to connect the ideas which in turn help to make your final result. For the moment I will, no doubt yield to your point however trust in the near future you link your dots much better.
      60 Years ago children could easily handle prams and go-chairs. Today adults struggle with them. Unless you argue that children 60 years ago were more adept that modern adults, (We may have been), I think I have made my point.

    4. mattcut

      I thought it was going to be some boring old post, but it really compensated for my time. I will post a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful

    5. Gerard Derouchie

      The next time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have something attention-grabbing to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you would fix when you werent too busy searching for attention.
      You do get some strange people sending in comments. This individual has copied someone’s comment (I’ve had this identical comment from different people.) Has he actually read the post? Has he just copied the comment from elsewhere and just has no knowledge of the English language? ( I only understand English so I am not complaining about that)

    6. Anonymous

      I savour, cause I discovered just what I was having a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye
      Confusing this one. It comes from a company selling the type of push chairs/proms that I am complaining about.

    7. Strongman

      Its like you read my mind! You seem to grasp so much approximately this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with a few p.c. to force the message home a bit, but instead of that, that is great blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

    8. Veronica

      Great post. I can only hope others can learn from this.

    9. Minert

      Good idea. Can be considered a learned thing, ok;

    10. Dorian Hagger

      Hahaha, this website is fantastic.

    11. Powelson

      The subsequent time I practice a blog, Hopefully it doesnt disappoint me up to this place. Come on, man, Yes, it was my replacement for learn, but I really thought youd have the first thing attention-grabbing to talk about. All I hear is actually a number of whining about the one thing that you might possibly repair if you happen to werent too busy searching for attention.
      The number of times I’ve had this particular comment, all submitted by different people, and all having identical spelling and grammer mistakes, it make you wonder about the intelligence of these spam merchants.

    12. Micaela

      I appreciate you taking the time to create this post. It has been truly valuable to me undoubtedly. Value it.

    13. Dusty Abuhl

      This website online is really a stroll-via for the entire information you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll positively discover it.

    14. Lavelle Watkinson

      I wanted to send you that tiny note to be able to thank you as before regarding the awesome advice you’ve documented in this article. It’s extremely open-handed with people like you giving publicly precisely what a number of people could have distributed as an electronic book to get some cash for themselves, primarily given that you might well have done it if you ever wanted. The good tips as well acted to become good way to be sure that most people have the identical interest just as my personal own to learn significantly more with regards to this problem. I know there are numerous more pleasant instances in the future for individuals that read through your blog post.

    15. Era Werkhoven

      It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read quality content like your article. You’ve done good work on this and I’m impressed with your point of view. Good job.

    16. Kerry Lanouette

      Appreciating the commitment you put into your site and in depth information you provide. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same out of date rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    Leave a reply