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This is a guide to help you understand all about wheelchairs. This guide includes a brief look into the history of wheelchairs, how the technology has been updated, which type of companies are involved, and all about the types of wheelchairs out there.
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The earliest recollection of a wheelchair being made is in the 1590s. It was a long time ago, when a wheelchair was made for King Phillip II of Spain and it was referred to as the “invalid chair”, referring to a handicap person using the wheelchair.
The first wheelchair ever made seems to have been a transport wheelchair; I say this because I am guessing King Phillip did not propel himself to travel around his castle or outside of it. This was the first ever occurrence of a caregiver type of person, or a companion that would push the king around without the need for him to move the device by himself.
The next time a wheelchair was noted in history was in 1655. Disabled individual by the name of Stephen Farfler designed and built the first ever self-propelling wheelchair. Right away what stands out to me is the fact that both wheelchairs mentioned above came out necessity, but the type of wheelchair involved depended on what social class the individual belonged to.
We have a king who is part of a royal family; his wheelchair is a transport wheelchair because his servants push him around so he does not need to propel himself. The second case is of a watchmaker who was part of the middle class more than likely, his wheelchair was a self-propelling wheelchair, and he did not have servants to push him around, so he needed to build a chair that was self-propel able.
In 1783, a man by the name of John Dawson of Spain invented the first wheelchair used for bathing assistance. This type of wheelchair was new for its time and became one of the most notorious wheelchairs of that time period. The wheelchair design was simple, two large wheels and a small one.
We bring it forward to the 1900s and yes by now there have been many upgrades and improvements made to the wheelchair by now. The first large rear wheel and small front wheel design was already established by the 1900s. Hollow rubber wheels were also used to mimic bicycles. The feature that allows the user to propel themselves without touching the wheels, was also established by now, push rims were standard by the 1900s.
Starting in the 1900s the standard wheelchair came with spoke wheels similar to a bicycle, and a few years later the first ever power wheelchair was designed. 1932 marks another big day in history for wheelchairs. Harry Jennings invented the first tubular wheelchair that resembles what modern day wheelchairs look like. They were finally “molded” to a certain design standard that lives on today.
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