Dolphin have been installing stairlifts since 1988 making us one of the oldest independent stairlift suppliers. We have chosen to stay independent because every person and every staircase is different and this gives us the ability to specify the right product for each customer. This page helps to explain some of the terms that you need to know when you are buying a stairlift.
Remember a straight lift only goes straight. It does not continue along the landing. The footrest of a straight stairlift will stop level with the top landing.
If the lift runs along the top landing the stair lift is now deemed to be a curved stairlift and will cost significantly more than a straight stairlift.
Curved Stairlifts have been designed for stairs that have one or more bends and they use completely different motor carriages compared to straight stairlifts.
A stairlift that runs onto a landing is also classed as a curved stairlift even if it is installed on a straight staircase.
Perching Stairlifts are usually used by people that have limited flexibility in their knees and hips. Occasionally we may fit a perching stairlift on a narrow staircase if there isn't enough room for a seated stairlift.
Swivel Seat Stairlifts
These days all seated stairlifts can have a swivel seat, these can be operated manually by pushing a lever or automatically when the stairlift stops.
Traditionally a swivel seat was used at the top of the stairs, the footrest of the stairlift would stop level with the top seat and the seat would then be swivelled so the user can put their feet on the landing and safely step off the stairlift.
Some of the stairlift companies now have seats that can swivel at the bottom of the stairs as well. This can be useful in narrow hallways so the user can step off into an open space rather than stepping of against a wall.
Did you know?
King Henry VIII was the inventor of the stairlift!
TV historian Doctor David Starkey has in 2009, found evidence in a list of the possessions of King Henry VIII that attributes the first stairlift invented to the Monarch. Injured through jousting, he used a chair that was hauled up and down stairs on a block and tackle system by servants at the ancient Whitehall Palace in London.
Previously it was believed that in the 1920s, C.C. Crispen, a Pennsylvania entrepreneur and self-taught engineer was the inventor of the stairlift. His creation called 'The Inclinator' was designed to enable his ailing friend to travel from floor to floor.
But now new evidence has discovered that Henry VIII, who is best known for his six wives and founding the Church of England, used a bespoke 'Stairthrone'.
Described in royal records as 'a chair... that goeth up and down', the stairlift is thought to have been operational at Whitehall Palace in London where it would have hauled the King up a 20ft staircase.
It has also been discovered that the King owned the mobility aid as well as three wheelchairs - although 'Wheelthrones' would be more appropriate - to help transport his vast 30 stone bulk around his royal residences.