Stephan Farffler

Stephan Farffler (1633 – October 24, 1689[1]), sometimes spelled Stephan Farfler, was a German watchmaker of the seventeenth century whose invention of a manumotive carriage in 1655 is widely considered to have been the first self-propelled wheelchair. The three-wheeled device is also believed to have been a precursor to the modern-day tricycle and bicycle.[2]

Stephan Farffler
Rollstuhl Farfler 1655.jpg
DiedOctober 24, 1689 (aged 56)
OccupationWatchmaker, inventor

Farffler, who was either a paraplegic[3][4] or an amputee,[5] also created a device for turning an hourglass at regular intervals and added chimes to the clocktower of Altdorf bei Nürnberg.[6]


  1. ^ "A Brief History of the Tricycle". 2012-12-02. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013.
  2. ^ "Medical Innovations - Wheelchair," Science Reporter, Volume 44, 2007, 397.
  3. ^ Jane Bidder, Inventions We Use to Go Places (London: Franklin Watts, 2006, 18)
  4. ^ Rory A. Cooper, Hisaichi Ohnabe, and Douglas A. Hobson, An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering (Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2007, 131
  5. ^ Clive Richardson, Driving, the development and use of horse-drawn vehicles (B. T. Batsford, 1985, 136)
  6. ^ Frederick James Britten et al., Britten's old clocks and watches and their makers (E. Methuen, 1973, 391)

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