Our Object Highlight for this week is the Trilox ‘Invalid Carriage’ and it was chosen by our Collections and Exhibitions Officer Nikki.
In 2013 after finding a Trilox ‘Invalid Carriage’ on Ebay. the Friends of Trowbridge Museum put a call out, looking for someone ‘who has a reasonable understanding of simple bicycle technology, who would like to take this on as a restoration project’. The Trilox consisted of a seat, two hand cranked chain driven front wheels and a back steered tiller wheel. Amazingly, a bicycle pump and a full tool pouch were still attached. Long standing member of the friends, and wood spoiler Bob Hallam took on the project, and the carriage can now be seen in the Museum.
Firstly, it should be said that although the term ‘invalid carriage’ is not a sensitive term that would be used today, it is historically accurate as the name used to describe this particular form of wheel chair.
The Trilox company of Trowbridge was founded during the 1920’s by Albert Jones and produced a large range of hand propelled invalid tricycles before entering the field of motorised invalid vehicles in the early 1930’s. From 1935 – 1959 the Trilox works was situated at 5 Dursley Road, by 1962 it had moved to 105 Mortimer street.
The Carriage you see on display is most likely from around the mid 1940’s, and would be commonly used by wounded soldiers. The Trilox has a simple frame, which upon closer inspection by Bob had been painted numerous colours through the years, a leather bound seat and hand cranks attached via chain, to enable hand propulsion. There’s a hand brake and the backrest acts as a steering devise, so the user would have had to have full use of their upper body or would always require additional assistance using the push bar on the back of the headrest, hugely limiting the user’s independence.
I think this is a good reminder, that although we have a long way to go until we live in a fully inclusive world, we have come a long way!