Evolution of the Wheelchair

August by
  |  Accessible

What Evolutionary Events Caused Changes in Wheelchair Design?

In today’s world, accessible transportation services for people with wheelchairs would not be possible without some key moments in history. These ground breaking shifts in technology and mindset helped fuel a disabled man’s imagination and determination to provide a better quality of life for people with physical disabilities.

Increasing Mobility and Access for People in Wheelchairs

Accessible transportation services for people with mobility challenges have been aligned with major technological advancements throughout the world’s history. In the early parts of civilization, the Chinese invented a wheelbarrow to move people with disabilities to different locations. With the onset of the 18th century and the beginning of the manufacturing age, people started to consider the comfort of their disabled friends and family members. One of the first recognizable convertible and reclining chair on wheels made its’ appearance during this time in history.

With the dawn of the automobile just breaking, the golden age of the wheelchair was along for the ride. A disabled man named Herbert A. Everest is credited with creating the base for the modern wheelchair. Wanting a wheelchair to fit into a vehicle, together with his business partner H.C. Jennings, a fellow engineer, in 1933 they invented the first manufactured folding wheelchair. It was the first time someone had considered wheelchair accessible transit and the positive affect it could have on people’s lives. The second model of wheelchairs invented improved upon Jennings design creating a manual, lightweight, folding wheelchair for the mass market. Every decade after that, the wheelchair’s designs, material and overall features had a twofold consideration, comfort for the person in the wheelchair and how to create wheelchair accessible transit for the disabled. Materials for wheelchairs improved as well, moving from heavier steel models, to lighter aluminum, titanium and carbon fibre frames, all developed with the mindset to ensure that a wheelchair was ergonomic, comfortable for its occupant and easy to transport.

What were some of the Evolutionary Causes for the Modern Wheelchair?

The wheelchair continues to improve as new materials are considered that will help to provide more independence for people in wheelchairs. Evolutionary causes that led up to today are:

  • The introduction of the automobile.
  • Development of the rehabilitative treatments and re-education on the public when dealing with people who had mobility issues.
  • Improvement and accessibility of medical services for people in wheelchairs.
  • The continued efforts across many sectors to help create independent lifestyles for disabled people.

Modern wheelchair design takes into account wheelchair accessible transit and transportation services. A good accessible transportation service like Wheelchair in Motion is aware of these unique needs and provides rental vehicles that are safe and well equipped for those who require a rental van for upcoming trips or family events in Ottawa, Ajax or Pickering.

Contact us today to discuss how our rental vehicles will work with your or your loved one’s wheelchair. We want to know your rental needs. We are here to help get you moving in our excellent wheelchair accessible rental vans to live the life you want to lead.


on Evolution of the Wheelchair

There are no comments yet on this post. Be the first to have your say!

Have your say!

Leave your comment on "Evolution of the Wheelchair" here: