How A Favour To A Neighbour Transformed Mobility Forever
Accessibility is a critical part of ensuring independence, and the modern accessible home has a range of tools, gadgets and assistive machinery that helps people with temporary or long-term mobility issues to remain active, comfortable and independent for longer.
One of the biggest changes in assistive technology is the stairlift installation, which allowed people to continue to use all of their homes through a system that could commonly be retrofitted into any house.
The system was initially invented as a neighbourly favour by an enterprising and inventive car dealer by the name of C.C Crispen.
Mr Crispen was the owner of his own Cadillac car dealership in Pennsylvania, being the first in the state to do so. This has made him comfortably wealthy and able to indulge his passion for invention.
A century ago in 1923, he went to visit his neighbour who, due to an illness, struggled to get up and down the staircase in their home.
Wanting to help them as they slowly recovered and wanted to become more active, he developed the idea of a folding seat that could be pulled up and down a staircase on a set of rollers, yet was also narrow enough to not stop people walking up the stairs.
This invention, initially known as the Inclinator, developed interest very quickly in the local area, and by 1924, the Philadelphia Electric Company invited him to showcase his invention, which led to further enquiries by Westinghouse Electric and many other companies.
In the wake of a polio pandemic in the early 20th century, the Inclinator was heavily marketed as a way for people affected by muscle weakness and paralysis to continue to move around their homes, and the stairlift has become one of the most common adjustments made to homes in the century since.