Possibly the first wheeled walking aid (revised) by keith armstrong


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A review of the third known representation of a three wheeled mobility aid, the first with a practical application. This paper is to encourage discussion on the British Museum item GR 1996. 7-12.2 It discusses the representation, gender, age of object, physical impairment, walking aids, fashion, hairstyle and general purpose of the model in the context of the evolution of three wheeled transport history. Revised version contains minor typos corrected and some additional information.

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Possibly the first wheeled walking aid (revised) by keith armstrong

  1. 1. Possibly the first wheeled walking aid (updated and expanded) by Keith Armstrong Abstract A review of the third known representation of a three-wheeled mobility aid and the first with a practical application from Egypt. This paper is to encourage discussion on the British Museum item GR 1996. 7-12. 2. It discusses the representation, gender, age of object, physical impairment, walking aids, fashion, hairstyle and general purpose of the model in the context of the evolution of three-wheeled transport history. Keywords: Archaeology, Classical Antiquity, Roman Studies, Egyptian Studies, Disability
  2. 2. Studies, Transport History, History of Technology. London 2014 Acknowledgements This paper couldn't have been put together without the assistance of many people. I am especially grateful for the time and assistance given by Dr Donald "Don" Bailey (British Museum), for leading me to avenues for research, Dr Paul Roberts (British Museum), Dr Judith Swaddling, (British Museum), Dr Gh.Reza Sharifi (University College London), Dr Adriano Elia, Dr Sally-Ann Ashton, (Petrie Museum), Ralph Jackson, (British Museum), Dr Robin Alston, Cecile Mairat, Sadia Akhtar, Nadia Bishai. Kathleen Baldanza, Julika von Stakelberg, Jana Haeberlein, Dr Doris Fletcher (University College London), Clara Creze, Tori Lewis, Dr .John Symons (Welcome Library and Centre for the History of Medicine), Matteo Baroni, Sascha Greenaway, Caroline Franklin, Julie Bowles, Oriana Fox, Liz Taylor, Rachel O'Dowd, Judith Horsfall, Evanthia Skoulariki for their support and the and Hannah Elizabeth Bryan (for her drawings and wooden construction). I would also like to thank the many people who have helped me to live and have given me the energy and their encouragement to complete this text and for the encouragement of the late Dr G. R. Simpson. I am particularly grateful to the kind members of staff at all levels within the British Museum and the British Library in London and to The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies in London. Photographs by kind permission of the British Museum who retain their full copyright. Drawings and model by Ms Hannah Elizabeth Bryan who retains full copyright. Neither of which can be reproduced without direct permission. ----------- I must point out that any factual errors or sentiment unwittingly suggested are my responsibility alone. The punctuation and typeface of the authors quoted have at times been modified. All rights are reserved. The author's moral rights are asserted. No part of this paper may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the author.
  3. 3. © 2014 Keith Armstrong All Rights including Moral Rights reserved Foreword I was lucky enough to get to know Dr. Donald "Don" Bailey (1931-2014) at that turn of the century while I was researching Roman and Egyptian wheeled walking mobility aids. He had a course retired by then, but he was still aiding the British Museum with his fountain of knowledge of the Romano- Egyptian period. At the time I had very little knowledge of archaeology, however, he taught me how to examine objects and what could be learned by them. He was a great man who shared his knowledge to anyone who was seriously interested. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/sep/15/donald-bailey-obituary
  4. 4. Contents Homer Iliad XVIII p 1 Introduction p 2 Tripods p 4 Child in Egypt with a wheeled walking aid p 6 Description of the model p 7 The Egyptian Sidelock p 7 The Roman Bulla p 8 Age of the youth represented p 8 Side View & Back View p 9 Reconstruction drawing showing front wheel p 10 Back of the model p 11 Physical impairment and infant mortality in Ancient Egypt p 12 Model of the walking aid as depicted in the Roman Fresco p 13 Medicine p 14 Ethnicity p 14 Roman three-wheeled walking aids p 15 Walkers became very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century p 19 In modern times p 20 The Zimmer Frame p 21 Who possibly invented the three-wheeled mobility aid? p 24 Conclusion p 26
  5. 5. End Notes p 27 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 1.1 Kamentz,Herman L.,(1969: 12), The Wheelchair Book, (Illinois: Charles C Thomas). 1.2 Tripod Smith, William, (Ed.), (1842: 1004), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, (London: Taylor and Walton). 1.3 Tripod Smith, William, (Ed.), (1842: 1005), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, (London: Taylor and Walton). 1.4 Child in Egypt with a wheeled walking aid, Image produced with the kind permission of the British Museum. 1.5 Egyptian silvercast Pendant (Horus the Child) 4th century BC. 1.6 Bailey, Donald M., (2008: 143, Plate 3533), Catalogue of Terracottas in the British Museum IV: Ptolemaic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt, (London: British Museum Press). 1.7 Reconstruction drawing showing front wheel by Hannah Elizabeth Bryan. 1.8 Model of the walking aid by Hannah Elizabeth Bryan. 1.9 A Child learns to Walk using a Machine with Wheels. 1.10 Invalid Furniture catalogue dated 1921 1.11 Forerunner to the Zimmer Frame 1.12 A modern Zimmer Frame 1.13 British Three wheeled 'Invalid trike" mid-1960's 1.14 Reliant Robin 1.15 "Argson"/ De Luxe Petrol-Driven Model [...] For Invalids And The Disabled 1.16 At the British Library
  6. 6. 1 HOMER Thus did they converse. Meanwhile Thetis came to the house of Vulcan, imperishable, star-bespangled, fairest of the abodes in heaven, a house of bronze wrought by the lame god's own hands. She found him busy with his bellows, sweating and hard at work, for he was making twenty tripods that were to stand by the wall of his house, and he set wheels of gold under them all that they might go of their own selves to the assemblies of the gods, and come back again—marvels indeed to see. They were finished all but the ears of cunning workmanship which yet remained to be fixed to them: these he was now fixing, and he was hammering at the rivets. While he was thus at work silver-footed Thetis came to the house. Charis, of graceful head-dress, wife to the far-famed lame god, came towards her as soon as she saw her, and took her hand in her own, saying, "Why have you come to our house, Thetis, honoured and ever welcome—for you do not visit us often? Come inside and let me set refreshment before you. Written in c. 800 BCE Homer Iliad XVIII The Iliad Of Homer 1.
  7. 7. 2 Introduction The British Museum has so many wonderful treasures and artefacts it would be easy to overlook the importance of some of them. One day in 2000, I visited the museum while on a search for ancient wheelchairs. On my way to the Curators' office in the Greek and Roman Antiquities Department, I went past a rather modest terracotta figurine. However, something about the object seemed familiar. I left the Department, having learned that neither the Ancient Greeks or Romans ever had wheelchairs, although images of Triptolemos (Greek - Τριπτόλεμος) * were very interesting. While leaving the building I glanced at the display case again. It wasn't until the next day that I began to realise what the object was about. 1.1 I discovered subsequently that the wheelchair only dates back to the German Renaissance in 1531. It was recorded in an illustration translated as Surgeon bleeding a patient in a woodcut by Hans Weiditz in Ausburg, Bavaria, now in modern Germany. 2 Sometime later I was able to visit the grand building again and was able to examine the work of art more closely. I had the assistance of Dr Donald "Don" Bailey a former curator of the Department. Dr Bailey had close connections with this figurine as it been given to the Museum in his honour on his formal retirement in 1996. * (See vase 1 140 C-3593 490-480 BCE painted by Makron: British Museum, London and Lexicon Icongraphiscum Mythologies Classical Vol. VFfl 2 s.v. Triptolemos p. 56 - 7)
  8. 8. 3 The figurine I was most interested in was made a long time since the Egyptians controlled Egypt. Since the coming of Alexander III of Macedon, known as Alexander the Great in 332 BC/BCE, Egypt had been a province of Greece and then later of Rome after in 30 BC/BCE after Octavian (later known as Emperor Augustus) defeated his rival Mark Anthony, deposed of his lover Queen Cleopatra VII and then annexed the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt. The item of this research covers the multi-heritage of a terracotta item that I discovered at the British Museum in 2000. Its heritage includes Egyptian, Greek and Romano-Egypt elements and its current counterpart can sometimes be seen on the streets of the USA and Europe and is used exclusively by disabled people. Many of these people have survived strokes or have had cerebral palsy since the time of their birth.
  9. 9. 4 Tripods (Greek: Τρίποδον -Tripos) In Athens there's a tripod street from which you can see the Parthenon. Elizabeth Speller states that: In antiquity this was a noble thoroughfare, The Street of the Tripods, running from Lissikratous right round the base of the Acropolis to the Theatre of Dionysos (Theatro Dionissou). Its name refers to Choregic Monuments: the bronze tripods awarded to the successful sponsors of competitions in singing or drama and displayed on plinths to each side of the road. 3 1.2 Tripod refers to any utensil or article of furniture supported upon three legs. Richly and tastefully ornamented it may be wrought in the same style out of white marble, or other valuable materials, and consisting of a lion's-head or some similar object at the top, and a foot of the same animal at the bottom, united by intervening foliage, as are preserved in the British Museum. Such a utensil was of great value, and was sometimes offered as a prize in the Greek public games. All the most ancient representations of the sacrificial tripod exhibit it of the same general shape,together with three rings at the top to serve as handles. Since it has this form on all the coins and other ancient remains, which have any reference to the Delphi oracle, it has been with sufficient reason concluded that the tripod, from which the Pythian priestess gave responses, was of this kind. 3.
  10. 10. 5 Delphic tripods were made to be used in sacrifice, and were often to be given to that place and in many other Greek temples. Tripods were principally dedicated to Apollo and to Bacchus. Partly in allusion to the fable of the rape of a tripod from Apollo by Hercules, and the recovery of it by the former, the tripod was one of his usual attributes, and therefore occurs continually on coins and ancient marbles which have a relation to him. The use of bronze tripods as altars evidently arose from their suitableness to be removed from place to place. Another species of tripods deserving of notice are those made of marble or hard stone. One was discovered in the villa of Hadrian, five feet high, and therefore unsuitable to be used in sacrifice. It is very much ornamented, and was probably intended merely to be displayed in this case as a work of art. 4. 1.3
  11. 11. 6 Child in Egypt with a wheeled walking aid (British Museum) 1.4 Fired clay or Terracotta moulded figurine found in Alexandria of the Roman-Egyptian period. Approximate date: First or Second century C.E., alternatively it could be from Hellenic times, although not likely. 5. It appears to be the first representation of a three-wheeled walking aid with a practical application. Literature :Terrecotte figurata greche e greco-egizie del Musseo di Alexandria, The Catalogue of the British Museum.
  12. 12. 7 Description of the model It is made of moulded clay and is hollow inside. It depicts a person pushing a three- wheeled mobility aid. The front wheel has broken off with the sands of time. On the right hand side of the head there is a single side-lock of hair hanging down. Careful research by Dr Donald Bailey has revealed that the skin had been painted or glazed. The figure is wearing a chiton cloak that was popular during the late Roman occupation of Egypt and is not dissimilar to that shown in " Relief of a Family" approximately 150 BCE/CE. 6. Rarely does one find traces of the natural plumpness and the proportionally large heads which in reality distinguish the child' body from that of the adult. Donald Bailey (correspondence with the author 2001) The Egyptian Sidelock The representation also shows the child with a single side lock on the facing left hand side. The Egyptian single sidelock is quite different to the Payos side locks grown in accordance with the prohibition of the Torah that "shall not round the corners of your heads" (Lev. 19: 27). It has become customary for Hasidim and Orthodox Yemenites to leave short ones which are curled behind the ears or long ones hanging down at the sides of the head. 4 The single side lock is unique to ancient Egyptian children. It signifies that the child was below the age of puberty. Both boys and girls had side locks during the Amanian period (during the reign of Akhenaten). At this period in time, when the model was made, it was almost exclusively used by boys and not girls. 7. The infant Horus 1.5 Egyptain silver cast Pendant, Harpokrates (Horus the Child) 4th century BC/BCE (Late Period-early Greco-Roman) Current location: Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, USA. Wikimedia Commons
  13. 13. 8 When portrayed, the god Harpokrates (Greek version of Egyptian Hor-pa-kraat - the infant Horus) is almost always shown wearing a "side lock of youth". He is very often shown as a 7-8 year old Egyptian prince. As a child he is depicted as the new born sun and was often pictured being suckled by Isis. He was usually represented as a seated child, sucking his thumb, his head was shaved except for this sidelock of youth. Barbara Waterson tells us in Gods of Ancient Egypt that he was very popular in the late period. 8. The Roman Bulla The representation displays a pendant around the child’s neck. This type of pendant is known as a 'Bulla' which would indicate that it was made at the time of the Roman occupation of Egypt and the child was likely to be male. 9. However, Jeannine Diddle Uzzi writes that: All Roman children could wear the toga, regardless of gender. [...] Roman children often wear the bulla, a round, hollow pendant attached to a gold necklace. Slave children were prohibited from wearing the bulla, so if a child is shown with a bulla, he or she must be a Roman citizen. 10. The bulla was a charm which indicated that if you interfered with this child the gods won't help you. A curse. The bulla was removed when the child became an adult at the age of puberty. 11. Age of the youth represented It appears that the youth represented in the figurine is a boy younger than seven years old, but older than an infant. Any classification of ancient infancy is hampered by issues of terminology. Latin appears to have had no specific word for what in the modern world might be termed as an 'infant': a child from birth to one year of age. As is commonly pointed out in scholarship on the Roman child, 'infans' meant simply 'speechless' or 'unable to speak', and it might be used for children up to the age of seven years. Infans might therefore mean a young child of any age, not necessarily a newborn, and even then, if we use its translation literally, it remains an imprecise definition. On the other hand, if we interpret 'unable to speak' as a reference to an inability to exert influence over their own lives — the lack of a social voice or of responsibilities, the term could conceivably be extended to even older children. 12. Liz Taylor (a mother of three and a qualified midwife of long standing), tells me although is not exact science most children who do not have physical impairments, learn to walk unaided by the age of one and a half years old. So it is more likely the child featured required a mobility aid because it had a physical mobility impairment.
  14. 14. 9 Side View (British Museum) 1.6 Location : British Museum, London and Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria, Egypt. There is an additional item in a private collection; ownership unknown. 1.6 Back View (British Museum)
  15. 15. 10 Reconstruction drawing showing front wheel by Hannah Elizabeth Bryan 1.7
  16. 16. 11 Back of the model The back of the object shows the clothing tied up revealing a naked lower back and buttocks. The person depicted is not wearing shoes. It was common at this time for children below the age of puberty to be represented without clothes or shoes. However, the rear view would be very helpful to medical doctors assessing the mobility of the child. Nothing is known concerning finders of the three terracotta figures. Only one has a location: the one in the Fouquet Collection is said to come from the Fayum, which is an oasis close to the Nile about seventy miles south of Cairo, and covers an immense area. I know of no scientific examinations of terracotta in Alexandria (catalogue no. 227) and the one once in the Fouquet Collection (catalogue no. 57). The latter is a sketch of a walking aid available in the 1920s from markets in Cairo. -Donald Bailey (correspondence with the author 2001). Al-Iskandariyah, Egypt (was formerly known as Alexandria) in order to avoid any confusion it will be referred to by its historical name Alexandria throughout this text. 12. Location of find : Not known, although similar objects have been found in northern Egypt: A terracotta figurine holding an object with three wheels. The figurine has been damaged. There are two other examples of closely similar figures. One is in the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria: E. Brecca, Terrecotte figurata greche e greco-egizie del Musseo di Alexandria, Bergamo, pl. LXXII - it's head is lost as is also one wheel. The other was in a private collection which has been dispersed: P. Perdrizet, 1921, pl LXXVI. (2) Dr Donald Bailey 13 Careful research by Dr Donald Bailey has revealed that the skin had been painted or glazed. The figure is wearing a chiton cloak that was popular during the late Roman occupation of Egypt and is not dissimilar to that shown in "The Relief of a Family" dated approximately AD 150 CE. 15 Hanging from the figures' chest is a small circular pendent or bulla (praetexta?). The back of the object shows the clothing tied up revealing a naked lower back and buttocks. The person depicted is not wearing shoes.
  17. 17. 12 Physical impairment and infant mortality in Ancient Egypt Children had value in ancient Egypt. The Greeks, who were accustomed to leaving some infants exposed to the elements, were astonished to observe that every baby born to Egyptian families was to be cared for and raised. This care was not easy. Many children died of infections and disease. There was a high rate of infant mortality, one death out of two or three births, but the number of children born to a family on average were four to six, some familes even having ten to fifteen births. However, all ancient cultures suffered from a high infant mortality, there would be a comparably high incidence of physical impairment at birth or after-wards. 16 In Janssen and Janssen's Growing up in Ancient Egypt it is stated that: "A baby's life in those days was threatened by many infections and maladies, infant mortality being high. Numerous instances of child burials can, be cited, but we will mention only two here, Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, the pioneer of scientific archaeology in Egypt and Palestine, noted in his journal of the 1889 Kahun excavations that he had found "many new-born infants...... buried in the floors of the rooms". Clearly the inhabitants of this pyramid builders' town in the Faiyum had interred their dead babies, sometimes two or three in a box, under their house floors, usually in chests made for other purposes such as clothes or toilet equipment. At Deir el-Medina, above the village on the western slope of the Qurnet Murai, is a cemetery where more than a hundred children were buried in amphorae, basket boxes, or proper coffins. The poorest graves were those of still-born infants, containing no amulets or jewellery . . . . . " 17 "In order to guard the vulnerable child, amuletic charms were placed around the neck. Numerous types are known and can be found in every collection of Egyptian antiquities, although it is uncertain which ones were worn by new-born sucklings. A likely candidate may be the Horus-eye amulet, safeguarding the bearer against the evil eye, a risk believed to endanger the existence of the young all over the world. The charm played a role comparable to that of a cross in Christian communities, especially around the Mediterranean". 18 Such was their anxiety for their families that they even had a charm against the common cold. The Ancient Egyptians also had charms or spells against diseases specifically mentioned are leprosy, blindness and snake bites. 19
  18. 18. 13 Model of the walking aid as depicted in the Roman Fresco at Museo delle Terme (Museum of the Baths), Rome, Italy. 1.8. Photograph by Cecile Mairat Model reconstructed in wood by Hannah Elizabeth Bryan
  19. 19. 14 Medicine Medicine in Ancient Egypt was performed by the priests of the Per-ankh (The House of Life). Scholars have long recognised that the Egyptians carefully observed various ailments, injuries and physical impairments, and offered many prescriptions for their relief. Diagnostic procedures for injuries and diseases were common and extensive in Egyptian medical practice. Physicians consulted texts and made their own observations. Medicine existed as a science and as an art centuries long before the advent of Hippocrates. 20 The Greeks and Romans praised the antiquity, wisdom, and scientific knowledge of the Egyptians. The greatness of knowledge gathered by the learned of ancient Egypt, a mention should be made to the forty-two volumes of the Hermetic collection. The last six volumes were especially devoted to medicine, including a complete theory of medicine. However at this time in Alexandria, there was a medical school based upon the Asclepiades of Bithynia, who died c. 91 BC and is thought to have been a link between Alexandrian medicine and the medical sects of Roman times. He followed the doctrine of the Peripatetics, which was the school of Aristotle. 21 Asclepiades wrote; All the exercises which have been devised for the treatment of disease, assuredly exist the easiest and by far the most convenient is transportation which the patient can use, even if he is so infirm that he cannot move himself. He can be busy in the fields, outdoors, enjoy the sunshine, be restored by fresh air; he can be moved in a quiet and pleasant way as long as he pleases. But several kinds of transportation are available: which are in accordance both with the strength and with the means of the patient, they may not be too fatiguing for the weaker nor too expensive for the lowly. 22 His follower, Soranus, (possibly the first known gynaecologist) , said that patients should be kept in light, airy conditions, should not be beaten, kept in the dark or given poppy to make them drowsy, and he stressed the importance of convalescence and aftercare. He also took social background and culture into account and insisted on the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. 23
  20. 20. 15 Ethnicity The child represented is possibly of African descent. The side lock indicates an Egyptian heritage, however the outline of a bulla symbolises a Roman inheritance. The child most likely could have been of dual or multi-heritage. Roman three-wheeled walking aids. This form of mobility aid could possibly have been very useful to Emperor Claudius I (Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) ** (10 BC/BCE – AD/CE 54), if he had known about it. There are three known later examples of depictions of this type of mobility aid in the Roman empire in a wall painting, two sarcophagi, with one sarcophagusi from the 1st - 4th AD/CE century having two representations. ** See Claudius the man, his physical impairment,and reactions to it A Roman "Kleine" dated 90 - 120 AD/CE A late Flavian to Trajanic sarcophagus from Rome which shows the life of the deceased person from birth to the completion of his education, where as a young man he is showing his command of rhetoric, the final stage of his studies. The series of scenes show his mother on a birthing-chair; the child as a baby; then using walking-aid, encouraged by a woman, perhaps his mother of the deceased at school; as an adolescent; and making a speech. Provence From 10,500 km. of the "via Portuense" found in the lands of "tenuta pantanella". It was only discovered in 1949. The monument depicts a bed, beside which sits a female figure that could either represent the spouse of the dead or the mother of the deceased. .
  21. 21. 16 Description of the Frieze: The frieze runs on four sides, however, only the front is displayed. The four sides represent scenes from the life of the deceased person. The narrative begins on the left of the front frieze with the birth. The mother sits on the birthing stool and is assisted by her personal slave, who holds her arm. The next scene represents the washing of the baby. Two servants are leaning over a large bowl, (this is analogous with the iconographic depiction of the group of wives washing the infant Dionisus in Nysa, as illustrated in a silver cup which is part of the treasure of the "casa del Menandro" at Pompeii. In the next scene, the child takes his first steps. He sustains himself with the help of a wheeled aid with an horizontal handle under the close watch of a adult female leaning towards him with her arms outstretched towards him. In the adjacent scene the deceased is represented as an adolescent. He stands in front of a class composed of six students. He holds in his left hand a roll of papyrus which is held at the other end by his teacher. The scene is of education, due to the scholarly orientation. Together with a scholar's education the activity of recreation is considered to be a part of the correct upbringing. The deceased and another boy are represented in the act of rolling a wheel using a short stick. At the far right of the frieze is the "declamatio" (oratory lessons). The deceased is represented with an arm in the typical pose of an orator, and in his left hand he holds a scroll. He is speaking to two figures dressed in togas, one of whom raises his right arm. Kindly translated by Dr Matteo Baroni Current Location : Museo Nazionale Romano Rome, Italy. Comment:The frieze is generally considered to be part of the figurative genre of realistic biographical narrative and is deemed stereotypical, an ancient type of clip art. x
  22. 22. 17 Trajanic Sarcophagus c 100-120 AD/CE Discovered in 1723 in the "Agro Romano" or Roman Countryside, a child's sarcophagus from the Trajanic period found near Rome also shows a very young boy using a three wheel walking-aid in a country setting: p. 73 [...] the middle, under a huge olive tree, two scenes take place: a naked plump baby tries his first steps with a "wheel instrument"; beyond the tree, the baby, now a child, plays with a goose. In the last scene the cart reappears and the child, now older, sits in his mother's lap; a figure, possibly a winged angel indicates the way to go.... Kindly translated by Dr Adriano Elia The two images are most likely representations of the same person. The two representations show a boy with a large hip. It is almost impossible to ascertain a diagnosis from a Roman stone carving, however the condition might have resulted from a dislocated hip. I would like to thank Dr Ralph Jackson for that suggestion. It could imply that the three wheeler was used as a walking aid rather a learning aid. There are two representations. In the letter to the author from the late Dr Grace Simpson it was observed that the boy had an enlarged hip which could indicate an impairment. While its two representations are most likely the same person at different ages of the child. Current Location : Museo Nazionale Romano Rome, Italy. Literature: [1] A. Giuliano, Ed., ( 1981: 73-4,1,55), Museo Nazionale Romano, Le sculture 1, 2, (Rome: Museo Nazionale Romano). [2] Umberto Eco and Zorzoli, G.B., EDs, (1961, 1962: 45) A Pictorial History of Inventions: from Plough to Polaris, (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson) x
  23. 23. 18 Roman Fresco Part of the fresco shows a boy using a three-wheeled walker: It is from a columbarium (a tomb with many small niches in the wall for urns holding cremated remains.) at the Via Portuense outside Rome. It is dated to the middle of the 2nd Century AD/CE. The Tomb was discovered towards the end of February 1951 in via Portuense, 218, Roma. p. 162: The five characters of a third group are involved in a peaceful conversation. It is probably a man the character in a white tunic who, his back towards the observer, addresses the others from a distance, waving his open hand. All of the other characters are women (two of them are sitting, ....) [description of the women] Another character is on the left side of the scene. It is a child, whose proportions are bigger than those of the other characters. The child is virtually naked, he is only wearing a long band around his hips. He is pushing forward a kind of wooden three-wheeled scooter [monopattino], yet avoiding to lay his left foot on it. Kindly translated by Dr Adriano Elia Current Location : Museo delle Terme (Museum of the Baths), Rome, Italy. Literature: Bolletino d'Arte 38 (1953), p. 1580 Aurigemma,Salvatore Le Terme di Diocleziano Ed il Museo Nazionale Romano, 1950. p. 54 no. 127 M. Borda, La Pittura Romana (Milan 1958), 102-103 col. plate (where the figure is described as "youth on a scooter") Comment: Having seen the image, I think I would dispute this assessment. Rather than representing a enlarged representation of a child it appears that the image on the wall is larger because he is older than the others represented. He also has hairy legs which might suggest he is not a child. x From then onwards there are no further examples known until the 14th century, almost a thousand years later, although the actual mobility aids would have been most likely made of cheap wood and would not have survived, however the next identified example appears on an English priest's ossary (a garment carried over a priest's cassock), now held in Scotland.
  24. 24. 19 An embroidered Three-wheeler The Burrell Collection Catalogue entry states: English, late 14th century embroidered orphreys remounted on imported fabric of circa 1500. [...] an ecclesiastical vestment worn by a deacon at the Mass. This example dates from the late 14th Century and is part of a set said to have been made for the Cistercian Abbey of Whalley in Lancashire. The embroidery appears on the orphreys panels that run down the centre of each side of the vestment, initially narrow strips concealing the front and back seams. They developed in width to accommodate increasingly complex decorative schemes. The orphreys depict the early life of the Virgin Mary, a common subject for 14th Century art. The narrative proceeds in individual scenes from bottom to top. The influence of Italian 14th Century art appears in the suggestion of depth as in the staircase of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple and the architectural framework modelled in light and shade. [...] the approach here is towards a descriptive presentation of the theme rather than decorative effect. This appears also in the prominence of flowers in the fields in which Joachim's sheep are grazing and the baby walker with which Mary learns to walk [...] part of a new spread of technology. 24 English, late 14th century embroidered orphreys remounted on imported fabric of circa 1500 110 x 124 cm (orphreys 93 x 15 cm - front - and 102 x 15 cm - back). Location: The Burrell Collection Glasgow, Museums and Art Galleries, Scotland.
  25. 25. 20 Hieronymus Bosch In a painting dated 1495, the Flemish artist Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) has "The Christ-child walking with the aid of a frame" A three-wheeled walking aid which is currently held in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. A similar mobility aid to that in Hieronymus Bosch's painting was noted by an unknown French archaeologist in the early 1920's near Fayoum in Egypt who stated: 1.9 A child learns to walk using a machine with wheels. This basic unit is still for sale in Egypt: it is called in Arabic machayan "walking machine"
  26. 26. 21 Walkers became very popular in the late 19th and early 20th century 1.10 A page from a catalogue dated 1921
  27. 27. 22 The Zimmer Frame There is a lot of confusion between the two mobility aids even in the current entry of Wikipedia. The Zimmer frame is so loved by Occupational Therapists (OTs) for elderly people who have strong arms and who have often survived a stroke. The main difference between 'the Zimmer frame' and 'the Walker' is that the former has no wheels and on each step the device has to be lifted by the user and then there are hybrids too. The Zimmer frame has become an icon in the UK and elsewhere in Europe for frail elderly people. I have not found any separate description of the specific origins of such a simple device. However the word 'zimmer' is German for the word 'room' and the word zimmer is also the name for one of the largest manufacturers of medical equipment in Europe called Zimmer Orthopaedic (a German based company). 25. From my personal knowledge the Zimmer frame seems to have appeared in England in the late 1950s or early 1960s. In the 21st century a group of elderly people formed a band called the Zimmers and had a hit single in the UK which was a cover of The Who's hit song "My Generation". 26. 1.11 Forerunner to the Zimmer Frame early 1950's
  28. 28. 23 A modern Zimmer Frame Photograph Sascha Greenaway 1.12 British Three wheeled 'Invalid trike" Mid-1960's 1.13
  29. 29. 24 Reliant Robin 1.14 Photograph by Julie Bowles Why three wheels? One might wonder why the early Egyptian mobility aid has only three wheels. A three-legged chair or table is more stable in an uneven environment than a four legged table. Nevertheless, when one adds an extra wheel, the vehicle is more stable than a three-wheeled vehicle. Hence the inherent instability of "Invalid carriages", (because it is slighty easier to steer with people with strong arms) disabled people were not considered as 'valid people' and therefore could be excluded from "Public Transport" and provided with these "mobility scooters" instead. Non-disabled drivers had to contend themselves with the infamous Reliant Robin. None of the above vehicles were allowed on UK Motorway for safety reasons. A three-wheeled vehicle is only stable if it has extra wide tyres as used by stream rollers or modern beach buggies.
  30. 30. 25 1.15 Advertisement Magic Carpet (Magazine of the Disabled Drivers Association)
  31. 31. 26 At the British Library Photograph by Keith Armstrong 1.16 Mr Munsia (a Reader) with his modern walker leaving the British Library in London
  32. 32. 27 Who possibly invented the three-wheeled mobility aid? It is most likely that we will never know who invented this mobility aid, however, the great inventors of Alexandria, such as Philon and Heron, (sometimes known as Hero) were heirs not only to the engineering genius of Greek scientists such as Archimedes. but also to native Egyptian traditions. In Ancient Inventions it is stated that some of Heron's (sometimes known as Hero) devices bear an uncanny resemblance to Hephaistos's self-propelled tripods (See page 1). 27 The earliest known practical examples of three-wheeled walking aids lacked any brake mechanism and it is likely that they would have "run" away from users thus causing accidents for the individual who relied on it too heavily. Modern walkers have a "dead man" brake system so that when a user has stopped squeezing the braking mechanism the vehicle automatically has a break on, giving greater control for the user. When we talk about Hippocrates we are talking about eight generations of doctors with the name Hippocrates. 20 I consider that when there is a reference to a great inventor known as Heron or even Claudius Ptolemy, we are not considering any one person but of a school around the great ancient library of Alexandria which must have created an industry of scholars around it, who were knowledgeable about the reading material inside. They in turn sought to earn an income by sharing their knowledge via teaching and in the same way as a university paper for a major project that has many contributors it is usually the Professor's name that is recorded. Both biographies of Heron and Ptolemy state that nothing is known about the author's life which could easily be explained if there was more than one contributor. For example, Ptolemy is credited as being a major mathematician, astronomer and geographer. The geography alone had to be put together after many interviews with sailors. It could not have been written or correlated by any one person. Around the library of ancient Alexandria there was a number of medical schools including those of Erasistratus 21, the schools of Dogmatics and Empirics 22, as well as of Serapion 23. Conclusion I intend to write a complete history of the basic design through the middle ages and later counterparts. If I have the resources to complete my research for publication I would welcome suggestions for sources of funding to complete my work on Walkers and other three-wheeled mobility aids.
  33. 33. 28 End Notes 1. Butler. Samuel, (1898: XVIII), The Iliad Of Homer, (London: Longman Green and Co.). 2. Kamenetz, Herman L., (1969: 12), The wheelchair book, (Illinois: Charles C Thomas) 3. Smith, William, (Ed.), (1842: 1004-1005), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, (London: Taylor and Walton). 4. Smith, William, (Ed.), (1842: 1004-1005), A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, (London: Taylor and Walton). 5 Speller, Elizabeth, (2004: 13), Granta City Guides: Athens, (London: Granta Books). 6 Bailey, Donald M., (2008: 143, Plate 3533), Catalogue of Terracottas in the British Museum IV: Ptolemaic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt, (London: British Museum Press). 7 Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 13 pp. 49-62. 8. Waterson, Barbara, (1984, 2003: 88), Gods of Ancient Egypt, (Stroud: Sutton Publishing). 9. Uzzi, Jeannine Diddle, (2005):29-30,196 n 59-60), Children in the Visual Arts Children in the Visual Arts of Imperial Rome, (Cambridge : New York : Cambridge University Press). 10. Uzzi, Jeannine Diddle, (2005):29-30,196 n 59-60), Children in the Visual Arts Children in the Visual Arts of Imperial Rome, (Cambridge : New York : Cambridge University Press). 11. Harlow, Mary, and Laurence, Ray, (2002: 40, 66 - 67), Growing up and growing Old in Ancient Rome: A Life Course Approach, (London: Routledge). 12. [Infant Health and Death in Roman Italy and Beyond (The Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplementary Series 96), (Rhode Island, Portsmouth: Journal of Roman Archaeology) in 'Defining the Roman infant and 'infancy' by E. J. Graham and M. Carroll] in Carroll, Maureen, and Graham, E., J., (Eds.), (2014: 3), 13. Bailey, Donald M., (2008: 143, Plate 3533), Catalogue of Terracottas in the British Museum IV: Ptolemaic and Roman Terracottas from Egypt, (London: British Museum Press).
  34. 34. 29 15. Tiradritti, Francesco, (Ed.), (1999: 394 - 5), The Cairo Museum Masterpieces of Egyptian Art, (Thames and Hudson) 16. Bunson, Margaret, (1991: 158), A Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, (USA: Oxford Paperbacks). 17. Janssen, Rosalind M and Janssen, Jac. J., (1990: 21), Growing up in Ancient Egypt, (London : GHP). 18 Janssen, Rosalind M and Janssen, Jac. J., (1990: 22), Growing up in Ancient Egypt, (London : GHP). 19. Janssen, Rosalind M and Janssen, Jac. J., (1990: 23), Growing up in Ancient Egypt, (London : GHP). 20. Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 32 - 34), The History of Medicine , (London ; New York :Routledge) 21. Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 118 - 122), The History of Medicine , (London ; New York :Routledge) 22. Green, R. M., (1955: 115), Asclepiades His Life and Writings, (New Haven, CT. : Elizabeth Licht) 23. Buck H. A., (1917: 139 - 140) The Growth of Medicine from the Earliest Times to about 1800, ( New Haven Ct. : Yales University Press) Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 152), The History of Medicine , (London ; New York :Routledge) 24. Burrell Collection, (1988: 52), Rarer gifts than gold: Fourteenth-century art in Scottish collections: the Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, Pollock Country Park, Glasgow, 28 April-26 June, 1988, (Glasgow: Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries). 25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walker_(mobility). (As retrieved on 13/6/2014, 9.20 am.) 26. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zimmers (As retrieved on 13/6/2014, 9.20 am). 27. Thorpe, Nick , and James, Peter, (1994, 1999: 135). Ancient Inventions, (London: Michael O Mara Books). 28. Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 94), The History of Medicine, (London ; New York :Routledge)
  35. 35. 30 29. Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 109), The History of Medicine, (London ; New York :Routledge) 30. Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 115), The History of Medicine, (London ; New York :Routledge) 31. Cumston, C.G., (1926, 1996: 369), The History of Medicine , (London ; New York :Routledge)