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HISTORY OF STARLIFT-2

/HISTORY OF STARLIFT-2
HISTORY OF STARLIFT-22019-01-21T07:00:26+00:00

The History of the Stairlift and its Evolution

3 Try to Answer 3 Questions.

  1. Which famous historical figure used an early version of the stairlift?

  2. What iconic ’80s monster movie had a stairlift scene?

  3. How did a stairlift manage to offend fans of a travel website?

Stairlifts are practical, they can even be life-changing, but they’re not exactly “fun.”

Still, they’ve had their moments in the spotlight over the years. Here are a few things you might not know about them.

King Henry VIII and the Stairlift
King Henry VIII and the Stairlift

The “Stairthrone”

By most accounts, the first stairlift was used by Henry VIII of England in the mid 1500s. It was really more of a “stairthrone,” used to get the overweight king up and down the steps of Whitehall Palace in London.

For much of his life, Henry was quite athletic. But when he was 44, he suffered a serious leg injury while jousting. His health began to decline, while his weight increased. By the time Henry was in his 50s, he had a 52 inch waist (according to records of his armor).

That’s where the stairthrone – described in royal records as “a chair…that goeth up and down” – comes into play. British documentarian David Starkey found evidence of the chair when researching Henry VIII. He says servants would have used a block and tackle system to lift the king up and down

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 Stairlifts

The stairlift has come a long way since ropes and a pulley! The first stairlift that we would recognize today was invented in the 1920s by C.C. Crispen who wanted to help his sick friend get up and down the stairs. He called his invention the inclinator. By the 1930s the Inclinator Company of America had been established and was mainly used by victims of polio.

These stairlifts were more in keeping with what we see today, consisting of a folding chair and footrest which moved with the aid of rollers up and down a track fastened to the stairs. This system has been found to be so effective that the design has hardly changed much over the years.

Stair lifts Have Come Along Way Since The Days of Henry 8th

The Modern Stairlift

This simple device for transporting people up and down stairs has become so popular, thanks to 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.

Curved stairlifts: for staircases which curve round.

Outdoor stairlifts: as some properties have outdoor steps either to get into the building or in the garden.

Stairlift Features

A Modern Day Stair Lift Features Safety Belts, Easy To Use Controls and Swivel Seats

Even King Henry VIII would have been impressed with the number of features now available on the modern stairlift. The folding seat and footrest haven’t changed since Crispin but now you can control the stairlift via wireless remote control which is handy if you have more than one person using it; safety features, swivel seats and user-friendly controls.

We’re not sure what the cost of King Henry’s stair-throne was but the price of stairlifts is now very competitive with many people benefiting from refurbished stairlifts that have been used but which have benefitted from stairlift servicing so that its condition is as good as new. And if you only need a stairlift for a short while, for a period of recuperation for instance, then some companies also offer stairlift rental. So from royal beginnings the humble stairlift has been changing the lives of people for generations and will continue to do so whilst staying true to the very first prototype that proved such a success for Crispin.

Stairlifts in Popular Culture

Five centuries after Henry, stairlifts had become commonplace enough to appear on TV and in movies, often in comedic settings.
In the 1984 horror/comedy Gremlins, the title characters dispatch Mrs. Deagle — the film’s Scrooge-like villain — by tampering with her stair chair, which flies up her staircase and out the window.

During the final season of Seinfeld, the episode “The Butter Shave” featured a plotline involving George Costanza faking a disability at work. Among his “perks” is using the stair chair at the office.

The travel website Kayak featured a stairlift last year in an ad that caused the company some trouble.  It features a man who’s so bogged down in searching inferior travel websites that he has no time to do anything else, including using the stairs, so he’s taken over the use of his elderly mother’s stair lift.

A scene from Kayak.com’s controversial commercial

The commercial shows the mother struggling to climb the stairs as the man’s wife suggests he just use Kayak. The website ended up getting a number of complaints from people who said it depicted elder abuse. Such complaints apparently led Kayak to pull the ad in Canada.

Stairlifts got a somewhat more dignified reception earlier this year on AMC’s Better Call Saul.  In the episode “Alpine Shepherd Boy,” main character James McGill meets with an elderly client who uses a stair chair. The show uses the scene to illustrate McGill’s attempts to get into the field of elder law. Her stairlift is simply a fact of life.

Stairlifts for Animals

Five centuries after Henry, stairlifts had become commonplace enough to appear on TV and in movies, often in comedic settings.
In the 1984 horror/comedy Gremlins, the title characters dispatch Mrs. Deagle — the film’s Scrooge-like villain — by tampering with her stair chair, which flies up her staircase and out the window.

During the final season of Seinfeld, the episode “The Butter Shave” featured a plotline involving George Costanza faking a disability at work. Among his “perks” is using the stair chair at the office.

The travel website Kayak featured a stairlift last year in an ad that caused the company some trouble.  It features a man who’s so bogged down in searching inferior travel websites that he has no time to do anything else, including using the stairs, so he’s taken over the use of his elderly mother’s stair lift.

A scene from Kayak.com’s controversial commercial

The commercial shows the mother struggling to climb the stairs as the man’s wife suggests he just use Kayak. The website ended up getting a number of complaints from people who said it depicted elder abuse. Such complaints apparently led Kayak to pull the ad in Canada.

Stairlifts got a somewhat more dignified reception earlier this year on AMC’s Better Call Saul.  In the episode “Alpine Shepherd Boy,” main character James McGill meets with an elderly client who uses a stair chair. The show uses the scene to illustrate McGill’s attempts to get into the field of elder law. Her stairlift is simply a fact of life.