Wheel Chair Lifts in History

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					Wheel chair lifts have been one of the most significant advances in
disabled mobility since the wheel chair itself was invented. They
play a supporting role. Certain kinds extend the range handicapped
people can move about directly, by transporting them across the stairs
that would otherwise hinder them. Wheel chair lifts are designed to
lift a person who needs to utilize such a device for mobility in an area
where a person without one would ordinarily go by negotiating stairs or
some other route that is difficult, hazardous, or impossible in a
wheelchair. To safely and reliably lift both a person and the
wheelchair he or she sits in, the lift must be quite
powerful. Generally, these lifts consist of a platform that can be
wheeled onto and a motor that raises the platform up or down to one or
more different levels.Before the invention of wheel chair lifts,
buildings could only provide handicapped access through ramp
systems. In some cases, ramps work perfectly well, and they are
widely used to this day. Sometimes, however, a ramp is impractical
for one reason or another, and in these cases, the lifts are employed
instead. The most common reason for using a lift instead of a ramp
is architectural. Sometimes there isn't room to build a large ramp
anywhere conveniently. Wheel chair lifts take up far less room than
ramps, because they don't entail any horizontal movement. In most
cases, they move in a direct, vertical direction, just like an
elevator. Ramps are also often impractical where stairs are
prolonged or steep, because a gradual ramp would need to be dangerously
steep or inconveniently large.When wheel chair lifts were first
implemented, they were often found in the private homes of those who were
handicapped or who wished to accommodate handicapped guests. Houses
rarely have room for ramps, especially if they were designed without this
accommodation in mind. Since the staircases in houses rarely see
heavy traffic, wheel chair lifts in private residences are often built
directly over the stairs. In this case, they follow the path of the
stairs, which means moving horizontally as well as vertically. The
advantage of this system is that it saves space. The disadvantage is
that when wheel chair lifts of this sort are in operation, it usually
keeps others from using the staircase.These lifts are important, not just
for handicapped Americans, but for all Americans. The handicapped
are better able to make their contributions to society when they have
uninhibited access to all areas. In addition, providing equal access
with ramps and wheel chair lifts supports the values that the United
States was founded upon.We believe in inalienable rights and
dignity. We believe in opportunity, rather than privilege. We
also believe in self-reliance. Rather than believing that certain
people deserve or garner power over others, Americans believe that
individuals naturally carry power and responsibility for
themselves. Wheel chair lifts allow handicapped people to be
independent, rather than reliant on others.Wheel chair lifts have been
important to disabled people and to supporters of equality since their
invention decades ago and have gradually found service in more and more
locations worldwide. Today, they are woven into the everyday lives
of those who use wheel chairs. They have facilitated disabled people
in ascending, literally and figuratively, to the stage and to the highest
places in society. Upward mobility has never so gracefully
emblemized itself.

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