By 1903, some saw in the new horseless carriage the possibility of achieving full outdoor mobility for invalids. That year American Ida Schmidt patented in Canada a motorized wheelchair running on a storage battery or electric motor. In contrast, the Gendron Wheel Company built tricycles which could be propelled by hand. 

By the 1930s, a British invalid could buy a motorized tricycle and travel the roads of Britain. This “invalid carriage” had an air-cooled single cylinder two-stroke Villiers engine behind the seat. The carriage was donated by an Ottawa family, but it is not known whether it was used in Canada. Nothing similar has been found manufactured in Canada. Was this due to the difference between the British and Canadian climate and road conditions?

Invalid Carriage

Motorized “invalid carriage”. Manufacturer Stanley Argson of Surrey, United Kingdom, ca.1930s. Canada Science and Technology Museum, artifact no. 1975.0514.