Power wheelchairs are a recent invention of the mid-twentieth century and originally designed for injured veterans of World War II. George Klein, the person credited with producing Canada’s Great Invention, specifically designed the modern power wheelchair for veterans who returned from war sustaining paraplegia.
Paraplegics prior to the 1950s were relegated to total dependence on others for mobility. These injured veterans most frequently were given manual wheelchairs, which did not provide the independence that the once able-bodied people were accustomed too. In the interest of giving both Canada and the global community’s returning heroes access to the life they lived prior to fighting in the Second World War, Klein used resources within his reach while with the National Research Council of Canada to devise the first functional power wheelchair.
George Klein’s design was so successful that now power wheelchairs are prescribed for patients with conditions ranging from paraplegia to COPD and other pulmonary diseases that affect mobility. Power wheelchairs are an invention designed to give ability back to those who physically cannot travel the places they love and efficiently move around their home. Twenty seven years after his death, Klein was inducted into the Canadian Science and Technology Museum Hall of Fame in 1995 for the execution of his vision.
Part of the reason his design was so successful is because the needs and ideas expressed by patients were utilized in the final designs. This is continued by Aeroflow Healthcare and through collaborating with a patient and their physician on a custom power wheelchair.
As George Klein envisioned them, power wheelchairs are customized for patient’s unique situations so that their lives can flourish despite mobility issues. Now, nearly sixty years later, the designs are so advanced that each patient can receive exactly what they need in most any environment they encounter.