A wheelchair is moved either manually (by pushing the wheels with the hands, or pushed from behind with handles by somebody who is not sitting in the wheelchair) or by automated systems such as electric motors which can be controlled by the wheelchair user (the person sitting in the chair) or by somebody walking behind or beside the wheelchair if the wheelchair user needs help to move their wheelchair.
Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness, injury, or disability. Wheelchairs can have extra cushions and other parts added to improve support if the wheelchair user cannot keep their body in a good sitting position, or to make the wheelchair more comfortable to sit in. The earliest record of the wheelchair in England dates from the 1670s [Oxford English Dictionary, (2nd Ed.), 1989, Vol. XX., p. 203.], and in continental Europe this technology dates back to the German Renaissance.
In 1655, Stephan Farffler, a 22-year-old paraplegic watchmaker, built the world's first self-propelling chair on a three-wheel chassis using a system of cranks and cogwheels. However, the device resembled a hand bike more than a wheelchair since the design included hand cranks mounted at the front wheel.
- Bellis, Mary. "History of the Wheelchair". thoughtco.com. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
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|The Simple English Wiktionary has a definition for: wheelchair.|
- Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheeled Mobility Archived 2018-09-15 at the Wayback Machine
- Dept of Transportation Archived 2007-06-23 at the Wayback Machine Information for air travelers with disabilities and their rights in the US
- Etiquette: Wheelchair users Archived 2012-02-27 at the Wayback Machine Suggestions for better communication with people who use wheelchairs