From wooden to wondrous: The technology of wheelchairs

As medical science improves so many facets of our lives, the humble but vital wheelchair also advances.

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Collapsible wheelchair Collapsible wheelchair (Photo: Nattrapol Sritongcom / Shutterstock)

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The portable wheelchair

The first collapsible, lightweight wheelchair that resembles most what we see today was invented in 1932 by Harry Jennings and Herbert Everest. Both were mechanical engineers, but Everest had broken his back, inspiring them to invent a new and improved wheelchair. The two went on to create the mass-manufacturing company, Everest & Jennings, and their design still provides the base for wheelchairs today.

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