If you are looking for information on stair chair lifts, this detailed and informative article can reveal what you need to know. Of all the accessability devices and aids that have been invented in the last century, surely one of the most useful and used of all must be the stair chair life, otherwise known as simply stair lifts, handicap stair lifs etc.
These amazingly useful devices came into being during the 1920s and followed an incredibly simply idea, as do most great inventions. Here we'll take a look at how stairlifts came into being, what their many uses are and what to look for in a good quality stair lift.
History of the Stair Lift
It was as long ago as the 1920s, when C.C. Crispen, who was a Pennsylvania entrepreneur, came upon the idea to help a friend who was having difficulty with mobility to travel between the floors of his home. With this in mind, Crispen designed a seat that was capable of ascending and descending the stairs.
As he was a self-taught engineer, Crispen was able to build his first prototype which became known as the Inclin-ator, which was in essence an inclining chair that ran up and down the staircase on rails.
However, long before Crispen brought his amazing idea to life, a historian who works for the television, Doctor David Starkey found evidence to suggest that King Henry VIII of England actually possessed the very first crude means for ascending and descending a flight of stairs using a chair that was raised and lowered by hand (this was done by servants) using a block and tackle system at his London palacial home Whitehall Palace.
Crispin's initial design has been only slightly modified through the years to provide a smoother and quieter ride and the adaptation of a foldaway seat makes the units very compact and suitanle for most widths of staircase.
Home Stair Lifts
Home stair lifts operate on a simple principle of elevating a fold away chair up along the wall of a staircase using a geared mechanisem in some ways similar to those used in moving stairs, or escalators, except on a smaller scale.
Most modern stairlifts are very efficient, whisper quiet and provide an beautifully smooth ride. These stair lifts are simply operated by using a toggle switch located on the arm of the chair. So that when pressure is applied woth the hand to the toggle, the stairlift gently begins to move (up or down) and then will stop when the pressure is removed from the controlling toggle, or when the chair lift reaches the end of its travel.
There is a common misconception that a stair lift needs to be fitted directly to a wall. This is not always the case and in fact in many instances, it can be fitted to the stair treads using metal cleats that are secured through the floor covering using screws.
Home stairlifts can be easily adapted to run along straight staircases as well as curved or angled staircases. They are able to carry heavy loads easily and if there are special needs for very heavy people, the type of stairlift that is anchored to the treads and not the wall is a better choice.
Stair Lift Design
The rails for domestic home stair lifts are made from a variety of materials depending upon whether the run is straight or curved. The most common materials are aluminium or steel and the rails are made to exactly fit the staircase they are made for.
The carriage, or seat glides along the rails on small diameter casters or rollers and the unit is raised and lowered using a chain, cable or on some larger installations by a rack and pinion similar to those used in small gauge roller coasters.
The seat can be either fixed or foldaway and has an armrest to which is attached the control lever. The seast usually rides along the track at a ninety degree angle to the wall.
Seats are able to swivel when they reach the top of the stairs and then locked in place to enable the user to get off easily. The swivel mechanism can be powered for those with limited mobility. In all, the stair chair lift provides it user with maximized accessibility options within their own home, which is the very least they ought to expect.
Wheelchair Platform Stair Lifts
There is a much larger version of the stairlift that can accommodate a wheelchair and user which is especially strengthened to cope with the extra load. These will only fit on wider staircases able to accept the wider layout. While this type of stair lift can be used in a domestic setting, they are most often seen in public buildings where provision is made for people with disabilities.
The stairlift is a marvellous invention that has improved the quality of life for so many people who are no longer able to negotiate a staircase and made it possible for people to get around their homes with less fuss and peace of mind than they ever would without them.
Some of the above information was sourced from wikipedia.com.