The Invention of the First Baby Carriers
Describes how one mother created the Snugli baby carrier.
When Ann Moore served in the Peace Corps in the early 1960’s she spent most of her time with the natives of Togo in the former French West Africa. After returning to Colorado in 1964 and having her first child she wished that the American culture offered a device like the African tribal carriers, which allowed women to bring their children along for the workday and promoted a close parent-child bonding as well.
Ann took a long piece of fabric and used it to attach her daughter Mande to her chest but contrivance was awkward and Mande kept slipping off. Eventually, with the help of Mande’s grandmother, Lucy Aukerman, Ann made a pouch from an old sheet, with straps that crisscrossed the back and with openings for the baby’s hands and feet. Thanks to the child carrier, Ann could take Mande along with her where ever she went.
As more people saw Mande in her clever carrier they asked Ann where they could find a similar baby pouch. Through word of mouth and an ad in a mail-order catalogue, Moore and Aukerman found themselves with a prospering business, manufacturing the Snugli baby carrier.
In 1977 Ann Moore patented the Snugli and she and her husband Mike started Snugli, Inc. By 1983 the firm was grossing $6 Million a year. Ann Moore now over 50 and the mother of three grown children feels she contributed to the well-being of mothers everywhere. “If the future holds a world of more loving adults,” she said in 1984, “that’s exciting.”
One mother who was not happy with the Snugli baby carrier however was Andrea H. Proudfoot, of Eugene, Oregon. She received one as a gift and found it uncomfortable. She decided to design a baby carrier that took the weight of the child on the back rather than the chest, “Andrea’s Baby Pack” was patented. Proudfoot along with 15 other women sewed the back pack as well as her other clothing designs in a small cottage industry while the owner refused to sell to large companies.