The origins of everyday objects can be very interesting this is also the case for stairlifts.
Stairlifts originate back to 1920 from a very clever guy called CC Crispen. Crispen lived in Pennsylvania in the United States. He had a love for engineering he had built up over the years.
Crispin had an entrepreneurial spirit and had always strived to solve problems. CC Crispin had a friend who had developed and ailment and started to find it difficult getting up and down the stairs in his house.
Crispin’s idea was to create a seat that could climb stairs and enable his friend to access the different floors in his house. He set about building a prototype for this idea. He then named this contraption the inclin-ator and so the first way to get up and down stairs in a chair was born.
A more recent discovery has been made by David Starkey who is a British constitutional historian and a radio and TV presenter. He is a specialist and has spent a long time researching Tudor history. He has previously written a thesis on King Henry VIII’s household.
Back in 2009 Mr Starkey discovered evidence in a list of King Henry’s possessions. King Henry was born 28th June 1491 he reined as King of England from 21 April 1509. Henry was the second monarch of the Tudor dynasty. As well as his six marriages he was describe as one of the most charismatic rulers to sit on the English throne.
The evidence points to the first stairlift invented to the monarch. The King was a keen sportsman and excelled at hunting, tennis and jousting. It was whilst jousting that he suffered injury. Jousting is played out by two horsemen using long lances. It is often part of a tournament the aim is to ride towards your opponent and knock them off their horse before they do you.
The stairlift was built and installed in Whitehall palace in London. It used a block and tackle system attached to a chair. Servants would haul the king up and down the stairs using the ropes and pulleys.
Stairlifts have come a long way since the times of the Tudors. Stairlifts nowadays can be designed to go up straight or curved stairs with sophisticated safety mechanisms. Servants have been replaced by electrically charged batteries to avoid disruption. But still to this day there primary function is to take any person up or down stairs safely and easily without any assistance.