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Let's take a closer look at that contributions have caused the most notable evolution of wheelchairs? Wheelchairs not only improve the quality of life of their users but also promote their mobility. It enables them to engage in social activities and improve their physical health. What has transpired in the evolution of wheelchairs? Read more on what Karman has brought to the table. Let's take a look at this unique history and evolution.

In addition, think about this for a moment and assume, what if there were no wheelchairs? This must be true if we went back to a time when the chair an wheels were first invented. There seems to be no exact claim to the actual invention of the wheelchair.

karman evolution of wheelchairs ww3 era in lobby

Check out our WW2 era wheelchair in our lobby when you visit us!

Today, wheelchairs are effectively used all over the world as a medical support device. You can see them in hospitals. We also seem to see them more in rehab locations. Not so much in the streets even though we have a lot of handicap accessible places to go.

Want to know more about wheelchairs? Let’s get started with its history and evolution. Here is where we get into the closer look of things. Let's take a closer look back in time.

History Of Wheelchairs:

Nevertheless, there is uncertainty about the invention of wheelchairs and its first inventor. Some scholars doubt that the history of wheelchair begins between the 4th and 6th century.

Therefore, the earliest records of wheelchairs were found in China. In China, wheelbarrows were used to move people and heavy objects. This is a time of inventions to get things from one place to another. Using it as a tool to move rocks and other building materials. It could be found that people were used to be moved as well. But not really as a car. Or a transportation. But more of objects. It's not entirely understood if people were the primary.

Year and detail

1595: The first known wheelchair, particularly designed for disability, was called an “invalid’s chair.” An unknown inventor designed it in 1959 for King Phillip II, who was the King of Spain. It was an elaborate chair containing two armrests, and leg rests.

1655: Starting in1655, there was a disabled watchmaker, Stephan Farffler, in Germany. At the age of 22, he invented the chair himself, known as the first self-propelled wheelchair. The invention of this chair was a major step towards the evolution of wheelchairs, though it was quite heavy and difficult to push.

1783: From 1783, the “bath wheelchair” was invented by John Dawson. This chair was named after the town of Bath. It was designed with two large wheels and one small wheel. This chair was the most popular chair in the 19th century.

comfort and luxury adding to the evolution of wheelchairs

In relection, the 19th century, during the industrial revolution, many improvements were made to the wheelchair to provide more comfort as the bath-chair was not comfortable. Those improved chairs closely resemble the chairs used today with rubber tiles and durable metals. 

1932: During 1932, an engineer, Harry Jennings, introduced a “folding wheelchair.” He invented this chair for his disabled friend, Herbert Everest. Later, in 1933, they both founded a company, Everest & Jennings. They made many improvements in the wheelchair to improve its overall performance.

1950: After World War II, there was a great need for wheelchairs for the wounded veterans. In 1952, an engineer, George Klein, noticed the need for an electric chair and invented the one with his team of engineers. He improved the size and weight of the wheelchairs. Through this, the era of power wheelchairs began.

Let's break it down now on the evolutions of wheelchairs by category

Latest Invention – A Smart Chair: This is truly an evolution of wheelchairs. A smart wheelchair collects data on driver behavior and their interaction with the environment. These power wheelchairs have increased the independence of its user.

The evolution of wheelchairs here is the foldable power function

Most Modern Wheelchairs Available Today:

All-Terrain Wheelchairs – These wheelchairs let the user enter into the water. All-Terrain wheelchairs also supply great mobility on uneven terrain as well as on the beach. These chairs have extra-wide wheels in order to enhance stability on unsteady terrain.

As a result, there are different models of terrain wheelchairs available, which include manual and battery-powered. These chairs are available in different styles and shapes.

Electric Wheelchairs – An electric wheelchair is easy to use and also light in weight. It provides great comfort to the user by avoiding fatigue.

It is the most popular variety of wheelchairs, so far. These chairs are more expensive than other various types of chairs but worth the expense!

unique materials and geometry adding to the evolution of wheelchairs

Sport Wheelchairs – Sports wheelchairs are not for everyday use and are made of lightweight materials. These are used by disabled athletes for particular sports, such as rough terrain and roadway.

Several sports wheelchairs are available for different sports, including a tennis wheelchair, racing wheelchair, handcycle, and general sports wheelchair

Mobility Scooters – These are the type of wheelchairs, also referred to as power-operated or electric scooters. These scooters are for those who are unable to walk long distances because of disability or any other health issue.

Moreover, mobility Scooters have seats that are adjustable in height. The majority of mobility scooters are super easy to operate and use. Some actually can fold. People even make them automatic. So it depends on the functions. But horns and lights are sometimes standard and others are optional.

Furthermore, You can also take your mobility scooter on holidays with you as it has the ability to be taken on public transports. People take them on buses, to amusement parks and just anywhere really. Now some people really rely on the electric scooter and travel chairs. With the popular EV's for cars, people really are starting to accept and adopt this. The battery technology has really improved. This gets passed on to the people.

Standing Wheelchairs – These wheelchairs are the most exciting and functional. This is the most exciting evolution of wheelchairs that is most notable in the 21st century. True tilt, recline, and power ELR functions changes the entire evolution process. Usually, wheelchair users spend most of their time sitting, which adversely affects their health.

standing functions adding to the evolution of wheelchairs
XO-505 standing wheelchair

In addition, these wheelchairs increase the confidence of the users by making them able to eye contact with the people. Standing wheelchairs also improve respiratory function, and thus, it becomes less exhausting to breathe. The bladder function of the user also improves while standing.

These standing wheelchairs have several other benefits, which includes:

  1. Increased bone density

2. Decreased muscles spasticity

3. Promotes Skin Health

4. Improved respiration

5. Prevents Tight Muscles

6. Minimize Fatigue

7. Increased Cognition

8. Minimize Depression


From this century, immense improvement has been made in technology, subsequently reflecting in wheelchairs. Now, power wheelchairs are being operated with a head stick, a joystick, and other devices. Some even have navigation and even tracking systems. Others have pulse sensing and health meters that can send the information to your doctor or loved one. There is a great deal of inventions and innovations happening at a rapid pace.

In addition, the improvement in wheelchairs has not only increased the wide variety of options but also enhanced the mobility of people with disabilities. Mobility and health. The benefits can only be measured in time. This evolution of wheelchairs will continue to speed up. With computers processing at faster speeds, one could only imagine what the next decade will bring us.