Wednesday, February 8, 2012

V3.6 - Oh, Those Little Tots

We now interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for this important commercial. Well, it’s not really a commercial, but it does have to do with television. If you’ve been reading my columns for any length of time, you probably know about my love for the antique baby strollers that were made by The Frank Taylor Co. They were branded as “Taylor-Tots” and are the Model T’s of the baby stroller industry. There is no telling how many of them were made from the mid-1920’s until around 1975. I restore them, publish an e-newsletter with over 100 readers and sell some parts. As far as I know, I have the only website in the world that is about these little guys. (shameless plug alert:

Anyway, I also watch a program called “American Restoration” and last night the program guide said something about a “1930’s Taylor Tot walker”. So I was all eyes when the program came on. A little into the program it showed the fellows buying a Taylor-Tot from a local picker. (“picker”- where did that term come from? We used to call them “junkmen” or “scrounges”. If we liked them, they were “collectors”.) So the picker pulls out this little stroller and it’s kind ragged - no push handle, or foot tray and the seat was all busted – and he says “It’s from the 40’s”… BZZZZT. Wrongo, me Bucko. Right off I saw that it had plastic beads which were not put on the Tots until 1956. So I knew these guys were clueless as to what they really had. But don’t worry, the real punchline came later in the show. Then they settled on a price of 50 dollars and the picker went away happy.

So, as the show went along, it showed them taking it apart, media blasting all the parts, making a new foot tray and push handle and then putting it all back together. My wife and I are watching this and I kept going “Yep…done that… and that… and that…and that”. It’s a wonder she didn’t throw her bag of popcorn at me, but then she’s not like that. So, they get the stroller done and it doesn’t look too bad. Actually, it’s a LOT better looking than it was when they first got it. It was very apparent that they had looked at some other strollers to see how the handle and foot tray should be shaped, but they did good. THEN, they had a nice couple show up to buy this thing and when Rick (the shop owner) said that he wanted 1700 dollars for it, I almost fell out of my chair. I can do a complete restoration for around 500 and I’ll put my work up against theirs any day. But then, they have shop rent and higher labor rates in NV than I do in TN.

Maybe I need to raise my prices…

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