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Silver Cross first began designing transport for babies back in 1877. It all began when engineer and inventor William Wilson combined his ideas for an innovative spring suspension system with a handy reversible hood, and invented the modern pram. It was truly revolutionary, and was duly patented followed by over 30 more design patents filed in his prolific lifetime.
Royal approval in the 1900s ensured a special place for Silver Cross in the nation’s heart. Since the very first Silver Cross pram, every new idea, every smart design, every improvement in manufacturing, every single change has been a response to the changing needs of parents, babies and children.
Little is known about William Wilson but what we do know is that he was a prolific inventor and engineer who with help from his industrious wife, started his own business making perambulators at Silver Cross Street, Hunslet, Leeds. In 1877 William finished his first 'perambulator' which was groundbreaking for its day - it had the very first reversible folding hood and a unique suspension system.
In 1897 William opened a purpose built factory in White House Street - which unfortunately burnt down!
Undeterred, William decided to build a much bigger one and called it the 'Silver Cross Works'.
By the time of his death in 1913 William had registered over 30 patents relating to pram design. He passed the ownership of our company on to his 3 sons; James, Irwin and Alfred.
In the 20's Silver Cross was crowned the No1 manufacturer of baby carriages for Royals when the Wilson brothers supplied a Silver Cross baby carriage to George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. By 1936 we had grown so much that the company needed to relocate to an old silk factory in Guiseley (where we remained until 2002).
During the 2nd World War the main part of the Silver Cross factory was requisitioned by the Air Ministry - producing over 16 million parts for airplanes such as the Hurricane and the Spitfire.
After the war we applied the techniques developed manufacturing warplanes to our new prams. We replaced our plywood bodies with aluminium and installed rubber die presses, spot welding machines, conveyor stoves and other state-of-the-art equipment.
Very quickly we were producing the finest prams in the world. Which is probably why the Queen chose a Silver Cross pram when Prince Charles was born in 1948.
In 1951 we launched a series of new iconic shaped prams, the forefathers to the Balmoral. Our eye-catching posters of this time often portrayed a Silver Cross pram alongside a Rolls Royce car.
With the introduction of a state of the art chromium plating plant in 1964 we produced some of Silver Cross's most successful prams and pushchairs. Our range extended into highchairs and furniture. To celebrate our centenary year we presented Princess Anne with a pram for her first child, Peter Philips.
In the early 1980's we launched a hugely successful lightweight pushchair called the Wayfarer which sold over 3,000 units a week for several years.
Since the turn of the millennium we have been designing and building new award winning products for parents and children offering the highest levels of quality, baby comfort and safety with chic, contemporary design. We now sell worldwide offering not only wheeled goods, but also a range of nursery equipment and car seats.
We are very proud of our history, tradition and lineage. We also consider it a privilege that over a million expectant parents have trusted our products to transport, protect and comfort their new born children. Like William, 130 odd years ago, it is a responsibility we take very much to heart.