Friday, December 21, 2007

The Taylor Tot Story



The who?..Oh, the singer?...no?....

The blog guy?... uh, no….

Believe it or not, Taylor Tot is a … stroller. But not just any stroller…it was the premiere baby stroller of the 20th century. From hours on hours of research, it seems they were made from the 1920’s till the 1970’s. The company was the Frank F. Taylor Company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

So, how did I get in such a shape?... Well, as you may have already figured out, I love old stuff. If I had my way (and the moola of course) my home would not have anything newer than 1960 inside it,,,well, other than the TV, the washer/dryer and the computer…but you get the idea.

Here’s the tale… in May of 2004, my wife and I were at a West Tennessee Antique Auto Club car show around the square in Jackson, TN. We were walking along and checking things out and one side street was the location of the ‘swap meet’ (EVERY car show has to have one of those areas - it’s in the rules). Anyway, I spotted this kool looking stroller sitting there and told the LOML, ‘hey, that’s gotta be old’. So we looked it over a bit- thinking wow, this would be a neat thing to restore and use for the grandkids. There were no nameplates on it anywhere, so I had no idea what brand it was or how ‘old’ it really was, only that it looked ‘old’. I asked the fellow who was in the area how much he wanted for it and he said “40 bucks”… Well, we started to walk away, slightly wondering what we would do with one anyway…but then, the deal clincher.. “But I’ll let you have it for 35”… yep - SOLD.

Well, we get the thing home and I start trolling the internet to find out more about what we had. It turns out that ebay had some pictures that looked just like it…and that’s how I found out the name; Taylor Tot. At least I now knew what it was…ok. Now I go trolling for Taylor Tot…and lo and behold, I find a guy who was a college professor who was restoring the actual Taylor Tot stroller from his childhood. Man, he had his lookin sweeet! So I emailed him and we started talking. Sure enough, he knew a lot about them and had even figured a way to copy his front decal. He was kind enough to send me one for mine. (I didn’t use it, but more on that later).

So, here we go… I started taking it apart and media blasted everything to get it down to bare metal.
If I’m gonna do it, it’s gonna be done right. I know you guys understand.

Well, during this time of reworking and learning all I can about them, I found another one on ebay and it had the ‘high-class options’ of “wheel pants” and a foot tray. These are groovy little fenders that cover the wheels and don’t let the rider’s feet scrub on the tires and a tray that is put under the rider’s feet when the stroller is used as a ‘pusher’. Lucky me, I won the auction- so now I had 2. (it really does end, but who knows where?). So I get the second one and right off, I discover that it still has the date code that was stamped underneath the seat AND it has most of an original seat decal still in place – oh my…a prize catch indeed! This thing was made in 1949. Ok, change of priorities… the one from ebay became the project.

I completely disassembled the entire stroller, media blasted everything on this one and primed it. I had the original color matched at Dupont and shot it with color, and then went back and sprayed it with a hardening clear coat. Wow - this thing shines better than my truck did.
It turned out nice…but it has to be just RIGHT. That leaves the decals, buggy bumpers and wooden roller beads to need the same attention.

During the time I was restoring the body parts and the mechanical parts, I was also looking at the various decals that came on them. As I said earlier, the professor sent me a copy of his front decal - it was paper. I suppose I could have glued it on and no one would have been the wiser…but I would know. Ya understand?... and if I’m going to go ‘all out’, the seat decal needed reviving too. So I took the paper front decal down to my local sign shop and had them make one in vinyl. The seat decal was a bit tougher. The wording was not completely readable, but as my good fortune lasted, I kept watching the ebay ads and someone posted the wording from their stroller seat decal and WALLA (that’s a Southern term for “Hot DOG”!) mine made perfect sense. So I took what I had back to the sign shop and after 2 tries, they got the thing just right.

The wooden roller beads (1956 and up used plastic roller beads) sit on a rail around the package tray that sits right in front of the rider. They are something for the rider to play with. As it turned out, Hobby Lobby had fresh wooden beads. All I had to do was drill holes thru them and paint them with a child-safe paint.

The buggy bumpers had rubber tubing over them and the tubing is readily available by using…well…I think I’ll keep that to myself. You never know when I might make up some kits and sell them on ebay for a little walking around money.

So, now you know. I’m the resident expert on Taylor Tot strollers. I reproduced more decals than I needed and have ebay’d a few sets to other restorers. I’ll let you see some of the pictures and you can judge if my efforts paid off….by the way, in my searching, I found that someone had restored one of these, and gold plated the bumpers…and they wanted $3000.00 for it. YIKES!
… but if you really MUST have it… I can think of a price… heh-heh.
EDIT ADDED 10-7-08: Thank you all for your comments. If you would like a response or a question answered, come visit my new Taylor-Tot website at http://www.3r1enterprises.com and use the 'contact us' feature. Thank you again and have a very blessed day.

26 comments:

ozmom said...

You did a beautiful job on the Taylor-Tot stroller! I can see someone else enjoys it too. I am about to become a grandma and love antiques. While going through some of my baby pictures I found some with me in my Tayor-Tot stroller. I'd love to find one and was searching when I came upon your site. What a treasure you have! Also love the car.

Terry said...

My wife would like one for herself just like the one she had as a toddler. How do I go about finding parts and detailed instructions on how to create one as beautiful as that you've made? I'm quite handy but have little experience with metals.
My wifes's inspiration is the same as your own. Her motto is "All that you do, do it in love."

Thanks,

Terry and Darlene

Bruce & Terry said...

My Taylor Tot is completely restored, minus the rubber bumpers. I have searched for hours online and cannot find the white rubber tubing. HELP!!!! You have done a fantastic job on your stroller. I pushed my little girls in one just like it! I am eighty one years old and love restoration projects. I have done many cars, motorcycles, hand wood carving and am eager to complete my Taylor Tot project. Hermans4jesus@gmail.com
Thanks and God Bless you~Bill Hamman

allen said...

We were glad to see what the stroller is that we found in a old house on our property. It matches descriptions of the 1920 Taylor Tot. We can read the Tot on the front and the beads are wood. Do you know how we can date it?

linda said...

I am so glad to find your site. I was going thru my mother's things and found a Taylor Tot Stroller in great condition for the age. Mom would have been 95. It even has a mobile that attaches to it and I have not seen any with that. I live in Sumner County and would love to ask you about my stroller. I also have my old playpen, carseat, and potty chair. I have never blogged before so I hope you get this message. Thanks so much.
Linda
582-3240

Helen said...

Your stroller looks as good as the professor's! I contacted him in '98 or '99, but eventually lost his info.(I do know where to obtain the rubber bumpers! :-) I have a Taylor Tot in pieces waiting to be restored, but need one back wheel with the fender skirt. Mine has no tread on it. I hate to buy a whole stroller and ruin it by taking a wheel off it. Any ideas where I could find one? I watch e-bay frequently but don't see any like I need. I'd be interested in a seat label and front label if you still have extras.

Thanks!

Helen

Jermo said...

My recent TT is Dresden blue and ivory with black tubing - no wheel skirts. I restored an identical stroller about 18 years ago, but it was brown and ivory with a different manufacturers name(can't remember the name). I sold it in an antique store for $125 mint. The brown one had black tubing as well. It seems all I find on the internet have white tubing. Must be the age of the stroller. I think my blue one is around '49. To get tubing go to a medical / hospital supply outfit and look at the ribbed tubing they use for douche bags (see Jeff's comment). Also try an auto parts store or hardware store for various tubing. Fortunately, I did not need to replace my tubing.

I am looking for a rear wheel for my current restoration: wheel w/o the hard rubber tire is 4 3/8 inches with a 3/8 inch center. If you know of anyone that has a spare, let me know.
Jerry a Believer

Jermo said...

I found my paperwork regarding the stroller I restored 18 years ago and it is a "True Test". The ID decal label was placed on the seat of the True Test. Evidently, Taylor Tot manufactured these units as well. Does anyone have the history of the two companies' relationship?

Bruce K. Ryan said...

I was thrilled to find the true story of my "1st set of Wheels." At age 70, I have tried to describe the Taylor Tot, but now I have the complete background. Thanks for clearing up one of my first memories

Holly said...

Have you ever found or know anything about one that is almost entirely wood? Mine have barely any metal i am thinking it may be one of the first ones, but it is sooooo hard to find info on them online. No tray on mine and no moving beads-and they were never a part of this one at all. It is either an original or an early knock off but it is beautiful. Bought in southern ohio over 40 years ago.

Marian said...

Holly, during WWII, baby carriages were made of wood and leather - no metal and very little rubber on the wooden wheels. Your stroller may come from that time. My baby carriage was like that (born 1943)

I didn't have a Taylor Tot stroller but my sister did - 1948 DOB. I have tried to describe to youngsters but they just can't understand. I pushed that stroller many a mile with her and younger brother. Thanks for good posts and pics. Love them. Marian

hockn000 said...

I have one for sale if anyone wants to buy it - all original - no restoration - still has rubbers - good/great condition.

contact me at hockn000@windstream.net

Anthony Gronski said...

Hello:

I have a Taylor-tot jumper and would like to know it I could get a new seat for it as it has snaps to take it in and out.

model # 1-438 baby jumper

Thanks Tony & Pat

michael.d.lewis said...

I found an antique stroller in my grandfather's atic when we were cleaning out his house. It appears to be a Taylor Tot from the looks of your photos. This one has wooden wheels. Have you ever seen one with wooden wheels?

ToolSmartz said...

Hi, this is Tom, this blog writer.
Attention everyone-I'd love to talk to you folks about your stroller stuff, but I have no way to get back to you from this blog. If you like to connect, send me a note at:
3r1enterprises@bellsouth.net

I'll be glad to respond to you or anyone at all.

Marvin said...

I just discovered a picture of my Aunt on one of these Taylor Tot's. Here's a link: http://www.usaprintweb.com/TaylorTotAuntMarlene.jpg

Jermo said...

Isn't she adorable, and strong!

Janet Benassi said...

Great information! I have my Taylor Tot Stroller that I sat in as a baby. I remember strolling my dolls in it when I was older. I also remember pulling off the front Taylor Tot label. Can I get one from you?

djmorrow62 said...

Beautiful restoration! I would for sure be interested in a restoration kit (rubber bumper tubing, and decals) if you ever put one together! djmorrow62@yahoo.com

Maria Tangerine said...

I have a 1924 un restored taylor tot walker/stroller. I was wondering how much it may be worth. It is a little rusy, but you can read the labels and its in original condition, it only needs to have the back wheel fixed. Thank you

Maria

doug said...

I painted my Taylor Tot to match my '63 Ford Galaxie, with candy blue and rainbow flake.At car shows it is always fun to see the peoples reaction when they remember pushing their kids around in one.After alot of searching for the white rubber bumpers I found that hose for the hand held shower heads that fit on the tubs faucet at Ace Hardware are the same as what they used.

nancygrayce said...

I just posted a picture of my older brother in a Taylor Tot stroller......although I didn't know that was the name until a fellow blogger told me!

vvaught said...

I have a Taylor Tot Stroller with all the original parts in good condition that I would love to sale to someone that would appreciate it. It has no sentimental value to me but I just like antiques, want it to go to someone who would know its value and take care of it.

Let me know if you are interested.
vickyvramey@gmail.com

Lizard said...

I'd love to have one, but have no place to put it. I loved mine as a kid, and was, reputedly, very enthusiastic about exercising its springs. :-)

Just wondering--I notice the push-handle sides come together halfway down. Is there some ergonomic reason for this that I'm not aware of? Is it perhaps a collapsible feature? Also, I saw one on Ebay that said it has brakes, but I don't notice any brake mechanism in any pictures. ???

Jermo said...

Liz-ard - For stollers that did not have the foot pan, the brakes were the feet.

jewel1248 said...

I have 4 Taylor Tor Strollers that need restoration if anyone wants pictures I can email them to you. My email is madylan85@yahoo.com