Published 2/03, Copyright 2003,

WheelchairJunkie in History:
The mobility advertisements of 1970

By Mark E. Smith

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This ad is for Rolls Manufacturing, Inc.  If you know wheelchair brands of the past 30-years, you'll make the connection to the thriving Invacare Rolls brand of the 1980s (and if you look closely, you'll note the address of Elyria, Ohio, home of today's Invacare) - that is, Rolls was somehow morphed into Invacare (if you're clear on the whole 1970s Rolls-Technicare-Invacare-Johnson & Johnson merger mess, let me know, as every time I try to keep it straight, I become dizzy).  What really fascinates me is the slogan, "The Action Chairs Are," as 20-years after this ad, Invacare bought companies like Rowcycle (original maker of the PRO-T manual wheelchair), and branded the Action line of chairs.  This single ad foreshadowed Invacare's brand names for decades to come. (I bet this insight is merely my years of boring literary analysis paying off - you have to look for themes in books like Moby Dick to stay awake - but, I bet there's at least one person at Invacare, nodding his head, mumbling to himself, "Finally, someone recognized the genius of my 30-year branding campaign."

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I have no idea why this product is no longer on the market, but I'll take a guess:  Sea-sickness.

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"Wow, man, groovy scooter -- but, how do I get it in my VW Beatle?"

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They hyped this motorized hospital chair motor kit at 5mph and 10-degree grades....  I'm not sure that boasting held up to actual use, and even when I was being fitted for my first powerchair, I elected to be placed in a large drainage pipe and rolled around rather than use one of these popular '70s powerchair kits.

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