The History And Evolution Of The Stairlift

 

As people age simple tasks like climbing a flight of stairs becomes increasingly difficult.  Now with modern technology to aid you in the form of stairlifts, you can overcome the fear and risk of falling down stairs.  It may surprise you, however, to learn that stairlifts can be dated all the way back to the 16th century.  Yes, in the late sixteenth century none other than the infamous Henry VIII can be tied to the history of the stairlift.  Among the many fascinating things Henry VIII possessed was a ‘chair that goeth up and down’.  Having sustained a nasty injury jousting in 1536 Henry VIII likely suffered from brain trauma that contributed to his obesity.  Along with his brain trauma he also had a nasty wound in his calf that never healed properly.  With these jousting injuries causing him pain and adding to his ever increasing waistline, Henry VIII needed a great deal of assistance getting around his palaces.  He had several wheeled chairs for general movement, but for stairs something else was needed.  Henry VIII had a chair attached to a platform that his servants hauled up stairs with block and tackle.  Thus, the first ever recorded stairlift was born.

Not all of us are wealthy enough to pay an entire team of servants to get us up and down a flight of stairs safely.  Fortunately, for those of us with slightly smaller funds than Henry VIII there are now mechanical stairlifts to do the job.  An American engineer designed the first modern stairlift for an ailing friend in the 1920s.  C.C. Crispen, who was a self-taught engineer, was saddened by the fact that his friend was confined to the upper floor of his house while recovering.  He decided to design a chair that climbed stairs and so in 1923 he built the first stairlift in his basement.  It ran on regular house current was used initially by many polio sufferers.  Crispen went on to build home elevators and wheelchair lifts.

Around this time Leslie Stannah was also in America.  This British engineer worked for his family company that had been founded in 1867 and built mechanical hoists and cranes in London.  Leslie Stannah moved to America in 1925 to further his engineering skills before he returned to England to work with other lift manufacturers.  By 1975 Stannah was designing and building its first line of stairlifts.  In 1976 the first curved rail stairlift was invented.  It operated with a single tube rail.  In 1997 Stannah introduced the revolutionary concept of twin rails that is still used in curved stairlifts today.

Henry VIII may have been able to afford a ‘chair that goeth up and down’ powered by servants, but you can rent a battery powered stairlift that runs for three years without any grumbling.  Unlike servants you can rent stairlifts for as long as you need them and return it when you done using it.  You can even sell your stairlift back if you have decided to buy one and no longer need it.  Plus, Henry VIII probably didn’t have buttons to push on his chair and who doesn’t like pushing buttons?  So the next time you use your stairlift you can sit tall knowing that you are a part of a long history dating back to Henry VIII himself.

Now you can have a Stannah stairlift with all the most modern features.  The footrests and armrests can be folded out of the way.  For safety the stairlift comes with a seat belt and sensors that can detect obstructions on the stairs.  Stannah stairlifts are battery powered and will work even after power has been lost.  The battery also means that the stairlift is quiet and incredibly smooth when operating, much better than being hauled up the stairs by servants.

Stairlifts are hugely beneficial to the lives of the elderly and they can give great happiness and independence to those who need it best. They are always growing in technology and continually creating and producing new models to give the safest, most effective and best mobility for the elderly stairlift user. Renting a stairlift is an increasingly popular and financially stable option in which you can give the lift back after a set time period. We also design and produce bespoke stairlifts to fit your needs as well as to fit your staircase.

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