Wheelchairs today offer a very high level of independence and mobility to people who cannot walk because of injury or disability. When and how did they come about?
While not in common use until the last century, the earliest known wheeled conveyance dates to the Greeks who put wheels on a bed in order to move an invalid from location to location.
Innovation arrived in 1665. A German watchmaker who was a paraplegic came up with a workable way to get himself around. He added hand pedals to a wheeled seat, which gave him a certain degree of mobility. There still would have been many limits for him in an era when there were no elevators or paved roads. Continue reading