The first documented wheelchair was made by an unknown individual in 1595, since then wheelchairs have been used around the world by people from all around the world. In fact, most of us rely on a wheelchair at some point or another in life. We are about to cover what we know about the history of wheelchairs, some of the first models that we know of, and how things have changed in modern times.
When Was the First Wheelchair Invented?
Although we know the first documented wheelchair was invented in 1595 for Phillip II of Spain, it is possible that wheelchairs were in existence before this. However, we do know that wheelchairs are an ancient piece of technology that continues to improve and become better today in the modern world.
Why Wheelchairs are Not a New Phenomena
In its most basic sense, a wheelchair is a seat on wheels. The wheel has been around since nearly the dawn of civilization. The same could be said about seats. Therefore, it isn’t that surprising for us to discover that wheelchairs are not a new phenomenon at all. Chariots, for example, are rather similar and we know that they date back to at least 2000 BC.
- Ancient Greek Wheelchairs
We now know from vase artwork found in an ancient Greek site that this long-gone empire had wheelchairs. Since the source of this information is from artwork and not from written texts, it is difficult for us to know exactly how they were used. These wheelchairs could have been used as a chariot, for work, or even as a traditional wheelchair.
- Ancient Chinese Wheelchairs
China is one of humanity’s true pioneers. Having been around long enough to claim the ability to have invented things such as paper, it is no wonder that they also have wheelchairs in their history. In fact, some historians believe they may have been the first civilization to use them strictly for transporting handicapped individuals.
- Ancient European Wheelchairs
Right at the end of the Renaissance Era in Western Europe, wheelchairs became more commonplace in places such as Great Britain and Spain. By this point in history, we can confidently state that wheelchairs both existed and were widely used by handicapped individuals as an easier mode of transportation.
The Modern Wheelchair and Noteworthy Advances in Technology
Right around the start of the 19th century, wheelchairs became a popular piece of medical technology all around the world. The Bath Wheelchair became a big seller and was invented by John Dawson, one of the pioneers of the modern wheelchair.
Until the invention of motors, wheelchairs stayed almost the same. Once motors were first used in wheelchairs in the 20th century, the whole industry changed. All of a sudden, handicapped individuals became a lot more mobile. Now, they could push themselves.
Today, the motorized wheelchair is still one of the most prized and widely regarded types of wheelchairs. In the future, it will be interesting to see how this industry continues to evolve. In the future, it will be nice to see advancements to help transport people in and out of their wheelchairs without further assistance.
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