The wheelchair and its role in society

From a status symbol to an essential mobility aid

Stars Insider

18/03/23 | StarsInsider


Wheeled seats used for transporting people with spinal cord injuries or those with mobility issues date back to antiquity. But it wasn't until the 16th century that the idea of building a mobile chair specifically to meet the needs of the disabled evolved. The first self-propelled wheelchair made its debut in 1655. Over the next couple of hundred years as technology advanced, the wheelchair developed into the design we are most familiar with today. By the 1930s, the folding wheelchair had been invented. Without this simple but effective piece of equipment, millions around the world would still be on crutches or confined to a hospital bed. But the wheelchair's role in society is far more than just a useful means of transporting the stricken.

Click through for a fascinating chronology of how a chair with wheels revolutionized the world we live in.

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