Grandma’s Attic. Baby Strollers in the USSR
In today’s rubric, we would like to tell you about a thing available in every family with little children: a baby stroller. Strollers have long been not only an element of everyday life, but also a part of the fashion industry. Every season different companies specializing in children’s products release new models, including rather expensive designer strollers unaffordable to the majority of consumers. But despite this, the happy parents spare no money to make their child feel good and comfortable. But it wasn’t always like this. During the Soviet times there was a period when baby strollers were not produced and parents had to manage on their own! This is when local mechanics came to the rescue and made strollers out of the materials at hand. This explains why in so many families strollers were used and stored with great care in order to pass them on to the next generation.
Before the appearance of factory-made products, strollers were made of wood or willow twigs. This was a cheap and widely available material, and even the poorest families could provide their children with a stroller made from these materials. There are pictures that show adults pushing their children in such homemade strollers as recently as in the late 1950s!
No one can say for sure when factory-made strollers appeared in Russia. However, in 1942, artist Nadezhda Udaltsova painted the picture “On the Balcony” that shows a typical stroller of those times, which for a long time had already been popular worldwide. It had a vertical handlebar that was large and broad. So, it can be said that already in the 1940s, some strollers could be found in the USSR and, apparently, were brought from abroad.
Mass production started in 1949. According to a government decree, the first prototype was brought from Germany. It was studied and measured for a long time, and then put into mass production. By order of Ordzhonikidze, 50 workshops were opened across the country assigned with the task to produce “children’s transport.”
Later, the most famous manufacturer of baby strollers became the Dubna Machine-Building Factory that was engaged in rocket engineering. In 1953, it began to produce products for children as well. It is true that for many years they were in a very short supply. To buy a baby stroller, it was necessary to save money for a long time and then to be on an even longer waiting list, and from time to time to call the Children’s World shop to specify delivery times.
Only in the mid-1970s did the “children’s transport” stop being a rarity and become available to every Soviet family. Strollers of that time, however were made slapdash and often broke down. By the way, back then parents were not afraid to leave strollers unattended on the street or at the entrance door. A mother with her child could go to a store or a pharmacy and was sure that no one would steal her stroller.
Baby Strollers in the USSR