history of motorized wheelchair

The History of Motors in Wheelchairs

Motorized wheelchairs, also referred to as power-electric or powerchair, are wheelchairs that are powered by an electric motor rather than by hand.

These powerchairs opened up a new realm of possibilities for people who were either physically unable to manually operate a self-propelled wheelchair or experienced difficulties with older mobility devices.

Advancements in wheelchair technology are intended to allow people who use a traditional wheelchair to get around to go greater distances without fatigue and do more on their own, effectively increasing autonomy and independence.

Powerchairs were also useful for people with cardiovascular and other conditions causing fatigue and inhibiting mobility.

A Power Wheelchair Across the Ages

While manual wheelchair technologies have existed for hundreds of years, it is only in the last 100 years that the first motors in wheelchairs were made.

In the early 20th century, an electrically propelled tricycle was invented in England. This first device had a crude design and stability issues with its three-wheel set-up. A self-propelling chair was predominantly the only option, and without access to wheelchair lifts or wheelchair ramps, there was still a need to improve the wheelchair market.

World War II and Veterans

history of motors in wheelchairs
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It wasn’t until about the 1950s that commercially produced power wheelchairs were made to meet the demand after WWII. Many injured veterans were looking for solutions following immobilizing injuries.

These early power wheelchairs had bulky, heavy frames and were powered by lead-acid batteries. They had simple motors with drive belts and pulleys for mobility.

Operating these chairs was pretty crude. The powerchair had only high and low speed choices. To steer, a joystick would engage one of four levers to give direction. The result was a jerky vehicle with poor maneuverability.

The First Electric Wheelchair

George Klein and his team invented the first electric wheelchair while working for the National Research Council in Canada. The Klein Drive Chair was developed in 1953 and mass-produced in 1956 for the public – especially WWII veterans.

For the first time in history, people who were physically unable to walk or operate a manual wheelchair could now get around unassisted. Despite the limitations of the first commercially available models, these first electric wheelchairs revolutionized their users’ lives.

These electric-powered chairs paved the way for innovation, better models, and previously unimagined possibilities.

Mobility Pioneers

motorized wheelchair
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Powerchairs became more accessible and gained vastly improved maneuverability and comfort, but they also advanced in ways that offered new potential for the user.

In the late ‘70s and ‘80s, several innovative companies developed the world’s first power-standing wheelchairs.

Redman Power Chair pioneered the standing wheelchair in 1984, combining fit and function with extreme reliability to enhance the lives of satisfied customers across the U.S.

The Motorized Wheelchair Revolution

Power-standing wheelchairs raised the bar for what was possible for assistive mobility technology.

Since their advent and constant refinement over the following decades, power-standing chairs have offered unrivalled mobility access and manifold health benefits.

As people who are wheelchair-bound know, the ability to quickly upgrade to a standing position on your own is both refreshing and empowering.

In addition to the social and psychological possibilities, using assistive technology to stand has many physical health benefits that improve longevity, comfort, and bodily functionality.

Health Benefits of a Standing & Reclining Wheelchair

Numerous peer-reviewed studies have shown standing utilizing an electric power chair to help users with limited mobility improve many body functions and relieve the negative effects of sitting.

For example, daily standing has been shown to increase and maintain bone strength and density, improve digestion and lung capacity, improve bladder and bowel control, improve blood pressure and circulation, and relieve stress on the back and upper body muscles, among others.

The Cost of a Standing Mobility Device

Such positive findings, both reported by excited power standing chair users and documented by in scientific journals, advanced advocates to fight for medical coverage to help people gain access to such valuable technology.

Today, Medicare and major medical insurance companies can combine or help cover the costs of standing power chairs as prescription medical devices for qualified users. Redman Power Chair helps its clients navigate the reimbursement and payment process with healthcare providers on the user’s behalf.

Unprecedented Independence and Features

The newest standing power chairs include a vast array of functions and features. For example, the 2019 Chief 107-ZRx by Redman Power Chair is leading the industry in terms of functionality, dependability, features, and maneuverability.

blueprint of standing wheelchair for quadriplegics

Users can stand with intuitive, customizable hand-operated controls and stretch, tilt, lay, sit, and stop anywhere in between. Plus, the Redman chair can be driven safely in any position.

This model uses six-wheel technology designed to move through off-road areas with larger wheels. In addition, the industry’s best compact design with 18-inch seat height, 39-inch chair length, and 23-inch chair width means users can easily navigate narrow spaces.

Perhaps most importantly, the latest power-standing chair model has long-lasting battery life that will last for a full day of usage before recharging overnight. Users can drive up to 15-20 miles on a single charge.

From Simplistic to Profound

Electricity-powered wheelchairs have come a long way from the crude early models a couple of generations back. Revolutionary assistive standing technology is the cutting edge for access to the best mobility and personal freedom for wheelchair users today.

New Wheelchair Technology with Redman

redman power chair

Informed by scientific research, user feedback, and the best engineering design, Redman Power Chair stands above the competition as the leading electric standing wheelchair in the industry.

Discover how Redman Power Chair can transform your way of life and improve your health. Sign up for a free in-home demo and experience the possibilities yourself today.

View the many features of our Redman power chairs by continuing to explore our website.

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