The Origins of the Stairlift

You might think stairlifts are a modern invention, however, this is not the case. While the stairlifts out there these days are the height of modern engineering, you may be surprised to find out the intriguing origins of the stairlift.

The 1500s

It is actually believed by historians that the first stairlift actually dates back to the 1500’s and the owner of said stairlift was none other than Henry VIII. Listed among a late detailed inventory of the King’s possessions was an object described in the royal records as a ‘chair that goeth up and down.’

This would have been used to move the monarch up and down a 20 foot staircase in Whitehall Palace. It is believed that a similar system used on Henry’s warship, the Mary Rose and this would’ve been used to move the Monarch up the stairs. This would have involved a ‘block and tackle system’, with servants pulling ropes to move the contraption.


You’ll be glad to know that stairlifts have certainly come a long way since their inception. Already by the 1920’s we started to see something that we recognise as the modern day stairlift, at this time it was referred to as the ‘inclinator’. This was created to help sick people move up and down the stairs and people experiencing polio.

Modern Stairlifts

This simple but also effective piece of machinery used for transporting people up and down stairs has become so widespread and popular over the years and this is because of the independence it gives, that many companies now offer a wide range of stairlifts such as:

  • Straight stairlifts: the most common stairlift for the most common type of staircase – straight up and down.
  • Curved stairlifts: for staircases which have a curve and go around the stairs.

At Alfix, we recognise the importance of living safely and being mobile. Our range of reliable stairlifts are designed to fit seamlessly into your home and provide you with the mobility support you need day to day. Purchase a stairlift in Warwickshire today with help from our professional team. Call us on 01926 334848.