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+ - A wheelchair - Historical note->

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Anonymous Coward writes "As a means of transportation for people unable to move, the wheelchair was first mentioned in China. These are ancient Chinese manuscripts dated by 6 A.D., where pictures of wheeled chairs can be seen.
1595 is considered to begin the next stage of wheelchair historical development. A special luxury wheelchair equipped with footrests and armrests was made for the king of Spain Fillip II. The wheelchair resembled more a high pushcart and needed an invalid tender escort. In 1655 the British Stephen Farfler, a handicapped watchmaker, invented a three-wheeled vehicle which made it possible for him to move by himself. It was the first self-propelled and lever-driven wheelchair. By the 19th century self-propelled wheelchairs had been replaced with manual wheelchairs — a handicapped person pushed large back wheels by hands and thus drove the wheelchair. It was notably uncomfortable to move down the street in such wheelchair, because hands got very dirty. In 1881 an outer rim of minor diameter was added to the construction of the wheelchair. This rim was adjusted to the wheel. When pushing an outer rim a handicapped person needn't touch a wheel and in such a way the problem of "dirty hands" was solved.
It should be mentioned, wheelchairs of those times were rather bulky and it made difficult to keep and transport them. However, in 1933 an engineer Harry Jennings wanted to help his friend Herbert Everest and made the first portable wheelchair of light steel. It didn't take long to realize commercial opportunities of the invention and friends set up the company "Everest-Jennings" dealing with mass production of wheelchairs. This company was monopolizing the invalid care equipment market for many years.
Electric wheelchair was invented after WW2 by George Johann Klein,a Canadian inventor, for the injured war veterans. Electric wheelchair is considered to be one of Canada's greatest inventions."

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A wheelchair - Historical note

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