Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Beginning of Wheeling

King Phillip II of Spain (1527-1598) was also King of Portugal, Naples, Sicily, Chile, England (as King-consort of Queen Mary I), Sovereign of the Netherlands, and was appointed by the Pope as King of Ireland. He led Spain to its height of power.

As busy as King Phillip II of Spain was, he still inspired the invention of the first recognizable wheelchair. A 1595 drawing showed the king in his tall wheeled chair with arm and foot rests. It wasn't until the next century when a German built a chair with a hand wheel; then another century when an Englishman built a chair propelled by pushing the wheels.

That is progress. Wheeling then and now is much more manageable than the Greeks' wheeled bed in 530 BC, and the Chinese attempt in 525 AD with a chair with wheels. Even the electric scooter, invented in 1924, has "come a long way."

As I sit in my electric scooter, I'm wondering what wheelers will be using in another hundred years.

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