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The Beginning of Stairlifts

The earliest known use of stairlift has been recorded to C.C. Crispen, who invented it to help his ailing friend to travel from one floor to another. This spurred the creation for a dozen other devices that meta-morphed from this design, revolutionzing the industries that they were used in. The home-decor and comfort industry simply loved the novel concept of having a mechanized unit to move people along the stairs. The earliest adaptation was to mechanize the entire stairs as it rolled on a conveyor and took the shapes of stairs thus giving us the early escalator. But stairlifts today primarily comprise of stationary stairs and a small device attached to it, usually at the sides, which can carry people up or down the stairs.

Why Use a Stairlift?

Stairlifts grew out as a cheaper alternative to elevators, which were too bulky and costly to setup and maintain in small homes. A stairlift can cost anywhere from $2000 to $4000 depending on the size, nature of expected use and the range of functionality it may provide, in addition to the build quality of the device as well.

Features on Offer

Feature wise, there are two major types of stairlifts, rails-based or carriage-based.

The rails based lifts usually consist of a stairway that can be converted into flat slopes with toothed-edges to hold onto a wheel chair and assist in moving up or down the rails via a conveyor mechanism. Then by the use of hinges, the stairway can be re-produced to its original state, simply by the flick of a switch or a button.

A carriage on the other hand has a seat and a foot rest attached to the edge of the rails, and made to go up or down the stairs by a double conveyor mechanism, to better control the speed of the chair while going up or down.

They are primarily used by the old people or disabled, who cannot navigate up or down the stairs conviniently. As far as the types of stairlifts available in market are considered, there are numerous of them, all geared to ensure a smooth passage on the stairs. However they can broadly be classified into a few types based on their design and build.

Types of Stairlifts available

The most popular are the striaght-rail stairlifts and wheelchair platform stairlifts. These are the easiest to assemble and use by people and logistically speaking, easy to maintain. Then we have the curved rail stairlifts, which are usually used in situations where the inclination of the stright path may threaten to topple the user of the stairlift due to being bulky or heavy. A curved path has a more easier inclination and poses less of a risk of toppling under high weight. Yet another stairlift are the outdoor stairlifts, which as the name suggests are placed outside the house, mostly to get onto the roofs of the house or probably onto tree-house for those who are enthusiastic enough for it. These are similar to the indoor stairlifts but have better weather-proofing to survive out in the open.

What started as a modest attempt to help a friend, has today grown into an industry that has its calling throughout the world. Be it for health or disablity or merely comfort, stairlifts have in their own small way made it a better world that we live in.

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