Acorn Stairlifts News

Welcome to Acorn Stairlifts News Section. Explore our blog for impactful resources, insightful articles, personal reflections and ideas that inspire action on the topics you care about.

The history of stairlifts

12:00am | & News
Henry 8th First Person To Use A Stairlift
Chair lift system was devised to haul him up and down the stairs

There is a little confusion over who first invented the stairlift. It is believed that back in the 1920’s, the first stairlift was created by an entrepreneur called C. C. Crispin, who was from Pennsylvania, USA. His invention was called the Inclinator and it was engineered by him.

Back in 2009 the British historian David Starkey, a renowned expert on Tudor history and in particular Henry VIII, discovered a reference inside the King’s inventory to a block and tackle system. The King, famous for his large size, suffered an injury during jousting. A system using a chair was devised to haul him up and down the stairs at his palace at Whitehall, in London.

So, who used the first stairlift?

One of the first users of a crude, but functional stairlift, was Henry VIII (as described above). Stairlifts started life firstly in commercial environments; these consisted mainly of hospitals and specialist care centres. They were used to help very ill patients get from one level to another where there was limited access to different floors.

They were seen at first as specialist pieces of equipment, often custom made for the particular situation. They were often fitted to places where a normal passenger lift would be prohibitive to install.

Because of this, the initial price of a stairlift was very expensive. They often involved the use of custom made parts and sometimes different parts had to be combined to get the correct amount of lift to take a person from the bottom to the top of the stairs. In the early days they were made and installed for a particular situation.

“Did you know: Some of the early stairlifts did not have a cordless motor? They had to be plugged into the mains at all times. A power cable would run up the stairs with the lift, if there was a power cut the user would be stranded on the stairs until power was restored.”

« Back to News Index