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History of Stairlifts

igniyte Stairlifts

Who Invented the First stairlift?

It has often been believed that the very first stairlift was invented in the 1920s by CC Crispen, a Pennsylvanian entrepreneur. CC Crispen was a self-taught inventor who created an ‘inclining chair’ to help his ailing friend move from floor to floor. This seat could climb stairs, was called the Inclin-ator and helped Polio victims. CC Crispen’s invention built the foundation for modern stairlifts worldwide. The Inclinator Company of America still exists which specialises in stair elevators.

However, in recent years, there is more and more evidence to show that it was in fact Henry the Eighth who invented stair lifts! It seems that society may be around 373 years out when it comes to when the stairlift was actually created. Henry was injured himself during a tournament at Greenwich Palace on 24 January 1536. Henry was 44-years-old and partaking in sport which he regularly did. The accident occurred when Henry was in full armour and was thrown from his horse. The horse was also armoured and fell on top of him. He was unconscious for two hours and was thought at first to have been fatally injured.

Henry’s Injuries

Henry recovered from the incident but his jousting career was over for good. However he began to have serious leg problems which plagued him for the rest of his life, and may well have caused an undetected brain injury which profoundly affected his personality. Henry had several medical problems which grew worse in his later years, especially his ulcerated legs and his obesity. Measurements of his armour show that, between his 20s and his 50s, the 6ft 1in monarch’s waist grew from 32in to 52in, his chest expanded from 39in to 53in, and, by the time of his death in 1547 at the age of 56, he is likely to have weighed 28 stone.

As Henry began to have serious leg problems, a chair was created which could be hauled up and down the stairs on a block and tackle system by servants. This unique invention was created as he was hugely overweight. He could not manage to make his own way up the 20ft staircase at Whitehall Palace. A block and tackle system similar to those used on the king’s warship the Mary Rose would have been used. Servants would pull on ropes to lift the monarch’s body. Apparently the chair was so big it has been dubbed a ‘stairthrone’. In addition to his stair lift, Henry the eighth was known to use 3 wheelchairs.

Find Out More

To find out more information on purchasing a stairlift, contact UK Stairlifts either by calling or using our online contact form. You can also arrange for a free stairs assessment, in which we will visit your property and assess which lift is most suited to your property, and then discuss your options and provide a quote. Call us on 0800 080 7887.