Stairlift: The Other Elevator

M C Riedijk

Friday 1st May 1992

History of the elevator goes back many centuries but only since successful demonstration of the overspeed governor and arrestor in 1853 has the industry developed progressively. The elevator is acknowledged as a safe means of transport for people. This congress with almost 40 presentations on all kinds of technical subjects concerning elevators shows how much scientific work and research in the industry is done. This is typical for a matured and established industry. Today one cannot imagine the world without an elevator. Although the first drawing of a stairlift was made more than 100 years ago the product never really gained acceptance. In comparison with an elevator the stairlift has a still some catching up to do. Certainly when we consider the acceptance of the product by the users and architects or even the elevator industry. Only now is it starting to become more widely acceptance. In the elevator industry, stairlifts were very often not considered as a serious option and, from a technical point of view the product is often still underestimated. This may be caused by lack of familiarity with the product. People used to thinking about complete, relatively expensive elevator installations see the stairlift as a ‘sideline’ product. This may have been understandable in the past but is not right for the future. In general, an elevator is preferred to provide access, however for technical and/or financial reasons a stairlift is more often the solution. In fact, the stairlift gets more recognition as a means of transport since more countries demand accessibility to public buildings for the disabled or provide to people assistance, allowing them to live longer independently, in their own homes. It is difficult to make a comparison between the elevator and the stairlift as we are talking about different magnitudes. Nevertheless there are some interesting subjects to look at and highlight differences.

Citation information: