For thousands of people, the modern stairlift is a very important component of their every day mobility. But how long has this piece of technology been around? When was the stairlift invented? The answers may surprise you!
The first historical evidence we have of a stairlift is from the 1500s! Used by King Henry VIII following a jousting accident, the king commissioned a chair that would allow him to go up and down the stairs of his elaborate castle. This proto-stairlift was operated by the king’s servants and used an elaborate pulley system in order to get the king up and down the stairs.
The first commercially available stairlift was invented four hundred years after the inception of King Henry’s stairlift. In 1922, self-taught entrepreneur C.C. Crispen invented the first modern stairlift for a close friend that survived polio, calling his new invention the “Inclin-ator.” In the following years, the Inclin-ator exploded in popularity, giving polio survivors and other people with mobility challenges new freedoms and more independence.
The earliest commercially available stairlifts were fairly rudimentary, relying on AC drive motors. The first Inclin-ators were simple, but effective. However, after nearly a century of innovation, modern stairlifts are more flexible and are able to assist more people with a greater diversity of mobility needs. As well as improved efficiency, modern stairlifts also have become more compact, with chairs that are able to be folded up, and are less intrusive in a home environment.
For the modern stairlift, there are two main categories. The first is the straight stairlift, which is the most common variety of stairlift. As the name implies, straight stairlifts are affixed to stairs with straight banisters, and, because they are fairly standard, they are an economical option. The second category of stairlifts is the curved stairlift. They use curved rails to accommodate winding staircases, and because of this, all curved stairlifts must be custom fitted. This customization makes curved stairlifts more expensive, but this ensures that the stairlift can comfortably fit through the stairwell.
There are wonderful stairlift options for very home that will allow users to stay in the homes they love and enjoy their independence. HomeLift has been a leading provider of quality stairlifts to the mid-South for over 30 years. If you have any questions about installing a stairlift in your home, we offer free in-home estimates. Our Aging in Place specialists can help you find the perfect mobility solutions for your home. Contact us today or click here to see our answers to stairlift FAQs.