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The History of Mobility

No one knows exactly when the first wheelchair was invented, however its origins date back to ancient times. The first known wheelchair purposefully designed for disability and mobility was called an “invalid’s chair”. It was invented in 1595 specifically for King Phillip II of Spain. The chair had small wheels attached to the end of a chair’s legs. It could not be self-propelled but most likely the King always had servants transporting him around.

Skipping forward to 1655, Steven Farffler was a young German watchmaker with a disability that limited his mobility. He is the first known person to invent and use a wheelchair that could be independently propelled. It was a stable chair mounted on a 3-wheeled chassis with attached handles on both sides of the front wheel used to propel the chair forward. Mr. Farffler created the wheelchair himself when he was only 22 years old!

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