The History of the Stairlift

Like many of life’s great inventions, we don’t think about the history behind it as they become such a normal part of society. The stairlift is one invention that has changed the world of accessibility. Today, stairlifts are at the height of modern engineering but this wasn’t always the case.

In this blog, we take a look at the history of the stairlift and how it’s evolved.

Who had the first stairlift?

Believe it or not, the first ever stairlift was used by King Henry VIII in the 1500’s. According to historian Dr David Starkey, while researching the famous king, he discovered that among a list of his possessions that a stairlift had been installed. The listed described the device as a ‘chair… that goeth up and down’.

The king was known to be overweight and having a jousting injury reduce his mobility. Considering this, walking up the 20ft staircase of Whitehall Palace must have been a struggle. Dr Starkey believes that this first stairlift would have used a block and tackle system with servants using ropes to lift the monarch and his royal stairlift up and down the magnificent staircase.

The first commercial stairlift

More than 400 years later, C.C Crispen invented stairlift that’s much more similar to what to have today. Wanting to help a sick friend, he named his invention to inclinator and launched Company of America in the 19030’s – a provider of stairlifts that mainly served victims of Polio. Crispen’s design was very similar to modern stairlifts including a folding chair, footrest and a track that fastened to the stairs.

The Modern Stairlift

Today, stairlifts are very popular for those that require extra support. Reliable and affordable, the device can now be installed to almost any type of staircases such as straight stairs, curved stairs and outdoor steps. With modern features that make them easier than ever to operate, everyone can feel comfortable within their own home.

At Alfix, we specialise in high-quality stairlifts for your home. If you or a family member struggles to get up and down the stairs, we can improve the safety of your property with an easy to use stairlift. Make the most of our free consultation today to understand your options and gain independent advice. Get in touch with us today for more information.