Invalid Chair

Wheelchair, manufacturer Gendron Wheel Company, pre-1940s. In museum setting, City of Ottawa Museums, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum collection, artifact no. CM1989.037. Originally owned by a Cumberland Township farm family.

In 19th century Canada, the infirm who lacked private resources became charity cases. Only those who had a home and surplus woman-power for giving care had the privilege of being an “invalid”. It also took money to buy mobility technology. This chair has upgraded caning and push rims, but not the springs or bicycle ball bearings which made wheelchairs roll better. This was a chair for use inside the home.