Recently I had an opportunity to visit a pre-1977 Marmet carrycot pram. (This, as you might well imagine, is my idea of nearly perfect fun!) I hope to write more about this particular pram in the future, but for now, one little detail is on my mind.
This particular style of pram is light and portable, and as a result tended to get knocked around a fair amount. There aren’t many left, owing both to the hazards of real life, and also to the fact that this style is more modern than traditional. In fact, I had never seen this model in person before, although it does show up in my catalogs from the decades when the world was transitioning from older, larger, heavier infant transport to smaller, lighter types.
These snaps along the side intrigued me. They’re for the apron (or storm shield) that provides protection from the weather. This isn’t a typical pattern for these fittings. It’s most common to find only one snap on each side of the pram body; sometimes there are two sets, usually one near the hood, and the other near the end of the bed. This is the first time I’ve seen three sets on the side of a pram.
The fourth circular metal bit, which looks like a snap, sitting just above the line of snaps, isn’t a snap. It’s actually a rivet, used to fasten the carry strap to the pram body.
As is often the case, the apron had been misplaced years ago. But I was able to scare up a fuzzy picture of an apron on nearly the same model, this one in blue. The apron is snapped in place on this blue pram; I’ve traced in red along the edge of the apron. The small white squares mark the snap caps:
See that split in the apron? (It’s where the red line goes up into an inverted “U”.) And the shadow of what looks like a snap, inside the top of the inverted “U”? That’s the rivet that attaches the carry strap. The split in the apron is so that the carry strap can be pulled out and used when the apron is in place.
Here’s a view of a similar (if not identical) apron. It’s formless, because it’s spread out, but you get the idea. The snap placement is marked in red:
If you can’t read the text, it says “Elastic straps with snaps to attach to hood”. (Yeah, my image manipulation skills stink.) Here’s a view of the part of the apron in place:
The picture’s too small, but you can just see the split to the left of the lower snaps. The elastic strap wraps around at the top and snaps to the hood. You can see the strap angling up to the right above the words “elastic strap”.(This blue pram is somewhat newer than the green one, and has the Marmet nameplate on the side.) That shiny metal bit to the right is the hinge of the metal frome for the hood.
I don’t think the snaps used were proprietary, but they are much smaller than those I usually see on European prams. I haven’t yet checked to see if they are available in the US now; but if so, it would be a fairly simple task to make up a replacement apron. The trick would be to find a nearly identical fabric. But even that’s not necessarily impossible; however, it is something for another post.
The extra snap sets allow the pram apron an extra adjustment. Once the baby (and pram) are all bundled up, you can unsnap the elastic straps and fold the upper flap along the apron to allow a little more air circulation, or a better view for the baby. All aprons also allow you to undo the apron at the top of the apron (or, if you prefer, the bottom of the hood) to remove or fold the apron back.
But this particular design allows one more setting: you can leave the apron on, but undo each successive set of snaps, and fold the apron at different points as the weather dictates. It’s a little extra touch of luxury that hearkens back to the days when Marmet made the most elegant (and most expensive) of baby coaches.