Wheelchairs are an essential device for a number of individuals. They supply mobility to those who cannot walk. For many, these are short-term, such as those recuperating from a recent operation or personal injury. They require something basic to move them around until they recover.
However for those with a lasting need for a wheelchair, a basic type with little frills simply won’t do the trick. You will find various kinds of wheelchairs, and understanding which suits a specific individual is essential.
Early Days of Wheelchair Technology
The very first record of a wheelchair getting used is on a rock slate in China. The graphic of someone in a wheelchair-like gadget goes back to the 6th century. You will find accounts of them being utilized in Europe since the 15th century.
Early wheelchairs were a novelty and reserved exclusively for royalty. They were the only group who could afford the expensive price tag and also the only ones with houses big enough for a wheelchair. No paved streets existed back then and houses were just a room or two, making a wheelchair unnecessary.
The First Self Propelled Wheelchair Model
As the centuries passed, wheelchairs became more common. The self-propelled models as the name suggest were moved by the person seated in them. The first wheelchair of this model was created by a 22 year old paraplegic watchmaker in 1655.
Self-propelled wheelchairs became more common in the 1880 with the invention of the push-rim. Wooden spokes were replaced by metal ones around 1900. It was still cumbersome at the time but making regular improvements.
In 1916 the first motorized wheelchair came onto the scene and in 1933 saw the first foldable wheelchair appear. It wasn’t until the 1970 that the wheelchairs started looking like the ones we see today. Aluminum is being used more, which makes them lighter and they also have more adjustable parts.
Wheelchair Variance and their Function
There are wide a variety of wheelchairs on the market today. Even with the customizable and other fancy types, the self-propelled is still the most commonly used today. They give a disabled person a sense of freedom and independence and are a great way for them to maintain their upper body strength.
For those who cannot use a regular wheelchair, the electric wheelchair is a great alternative.
Although mobility is usually the primary concern of a wheelchair, comfort must also be given great consideration in the final selection of a wheelchair, since those who are wheelchair bound will be seated for long periods.
There are numerous other specialized wheelchairs that allow the disabled to take part in sports and other outdoor activities.
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