Posts Tagged ‘everest’

The Development of the Modern Wheelchair

The wheelchair is one of the oldest types of home medical equipment, dating back thousands of years, with images depicting the use of carts and similar devices, used to transport those with limited mobility. However, if you looked at most of the early wheelchairs, you might not even recognize them as a wheelchair, nor where they something that was generally available to the regular population.

In the past, wheelchairs were traditionally only available to those such as nobility or who had the means to have one constructed. This is because there was no set standard to them, so instead the wheelchair had to basically be reinvented each time it was built, relying on the skills of the builder.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, this began to change, with a semi-standard wicker wheelchair becoming much more common. This was in part due to the increased number of war veterans from the Civil War. These early wheelchairs where relatively inexpensive and featured a large wicker chair, which was often very high backed. Sometimes, however, wood was used in place of wicker, which was much sturdier, but also a great deal heavier.

While a big step up from the older models of wheelchairs, the wicker and wood wheelchairs were very cumbersome and could rarely be transported easily. They also usually required someone to push the wheelchairs, leaving the wheelchair user dependent on friends, nurses, or other caregivers to get around. These wheelchairs would remain common until the early 1930′s, when a much lighter wheelchair was developed.

The improved wheelchair, which was developed during the 1930′s was referred to as the E&J wheelchair, named for its inventors Everest and Jennings. What sets this apart from other wheelchairs was that it had a solid metal frame, constructed using hollow steel tubes. This provided a great deal of strength, but because the metal was hollow, it was not very heavy. The E&J wheelchair could also be folded up, making it much easier to transport in carriages and the less common automobile. In addition, the wheelchair featured large front wheels, allowing the wheelchair user to self propel, without the need to rely on a caretaker.

As was the case with the previous wheelchair design, much of the innovation and adoption was the result of injured veterans, this time from World War I. A few years later, World War II would begin and the E&J wheelchair would become the default wheelchair design.

By the 1950′s, the E&J wheelchair was still the most common choice of wheelchair, with inventors creating a electric wheelchair kit that could be used to convert a regular manual wheelchair to an electric one. These kits became very popular, with companies from Canada and New York developing quick converter kits.

Today, the E&J wheelchair design is still seen in most manual wheelchairs, with its lightweight hollow metal frame and folding design, making it a great choice for traveling. In fact, Everest and Jenning wheelchairs are still available, as the company has remained a powerful name in the wheelchair industry.

The History of the Modern Wheelchair

Wheelchairs have become one of the most common types of mobility vehicles and are used by people in every country in the World. However, unlike many other types of inventions, the wheelchair is relatively new and the modern wheelchair is actually less than 100 years old.

When the history of the wheelchair is considered, records can be traced back thousands of years that describe devices that were used by people who were unable to or had difficulty walking. These early devices are classified as wheelchairs, but when you consider their design and the way they were used, they are incredibly different from the modern wheelchair. In these early times, building and constructing a wheelchair was very expensive and often something that was only available to royalty.

It was also very common for early wheelchairs to work more as carts or even prams, in that the person using the wheelchair had to be pushed around by others. There were, of course, several early self propelled wheelchairs, but these often used hand cranks and were more of a novelty for kings, rather than a tool for the disabled.

Towards, the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, wheelchair design began to become more standardized, in part due to lessons learned during the civil war. It was during this time that the wicker wheelchair became very popular. These wheelchairs had two wheels on the side, with a third wheel in back for support. The wheelchair itself was mostly made out of wicker, which is a made of weaving fiber together to form a strong rigid material.

The wicker wheelchairs had a very long back and were rather cumbersome. Even though they often had larger wheels on the sides, it was seldom easy or even possible to self-propel with this type of wheelchairs. Also, due to their large size, transporting a wicker wheelchair was simply not something that could be done easily or without expending abnormal resources.

Still, the design of the wicker wheelchair worked very well and hospitals all over the country adopted this design. Some people would also construct wooden wheelchairs, using a similar design to the wicker chair, only using boards of wood instead of wicker.

Wicker wheelchairs would remain popular for about twenty years, up until the mid-thirties, when a new type of wheelchair was developed. It was at this time when the E&J wheelchair was developed, which would revolutionize wheelchair design. The E & J wheelchair was designed by two inventors named Everest and Jennings.

Herbert Everest was an engineer who had suffered a back injury and was confined to a wheelchair. Together with Jennings, another Engineer, Everest set out to address several issues that made using a wheelchair in the 1930′s very difficult. Specifically they developed a folding lightweight wheelchair, which could be easily traveled with.

The E&J wheelchair used hollow metal tubes to provide excellent strength and support, without adding too much weight. It also featured large wheels on the side, which could be self propelled, by the user. Today, this design is still used and its influence can be seen in almost all manual wheelchairs.