Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Invention of the Wheel Chair- Brooke Mastmeier

I. Introduction: The Wheel chair is a chair with wheels that is used as a replacement for those who can’t walk due to injury or illness. There are many variations of the wheel chair. There are some that are propelled by motors and some that are used by the hand of the seated occupant.

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II. History:
The earliest records of the wheel chair dated back to the 6th century, they were seen through Chinese inscriptions. The best illustrated wheel chair was invented for King Philip II of Spain back in 1565. The drawing shows the king in his chair with wheels, armrests, and footrests. In 1665, Stephan Farfler came up with a self propelled wheel chair. The Chair was propelled by hand cranks attached to the front wheel. Then in 1783, John Dawson, came up with the “Dawson Bath Chair. His design eventually began to develop and change. And by the 19th century, wheelchairs became more comfortable and less burdensome.

III. Types of Wheel Chairs: Everyday manual wheel chairs- Some of these chairs have permanently welded joints and many fewer moving parts. The Rigid chairs typically feature instant-release rear wheels and backrests that fold down flat. There are various accessories that could be added on the chair, such as: safety belts, tilt or recline features, or carrying devices for crutches or oxygen tanks. Manual chairs require human power to move them. Many of them can be folded to fit into a vehicle.

Electric powered- This chair is control by an electric motor and navigational controls, usually a small joystick on the armrest. For people who can’t manage the hand joy stick, head switches and chin operated joysticks may also be used.
Figure 2:

IV. Access and Mobility:
It is necessary to add ramps and elevators to public areas for people who are using a wheel chair. In the USA most new construction for public use must be built to ADA standards of accessibility. With the aging of the population, architects will now design wheel chairs ramps for private homes. Other important adaptations to private homes would be larger bathroom doors, and accessibility to showers and bathtubs.
Figure 3:

V. Journal Article: Couch, R. H. (1992). Ramps Not Steps: A Study of Accessibility Preferences. The Journal of Rehabilitation, 58(1), 65+. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from Questia database:
This Journal Article is about the accessibility of the wheel chair in public places, and the laws that have been passed to encourage the accessibility. Also that people using his invention have been fighting barriers interfering with its use.

VI. References:
1.Couch, R. H. (1992). Ramps Not Steps: A Study of Accessibility Preferences. The Journal of Rehabilitation, 58(1), 65+. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from Questia database:
2.History of the Wheel Chair. (n.d.). Content Caboodle. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from
3.Wheelchair - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (n.d.). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved May 1, 2011, from

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