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BraunAbility

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Our Story

The story of BraunAbility begins with our founder, Ralph Braun. Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and unable to walk by the age of 15, he was determined to find a better way to stay mobile than being pushed in a manual chair and carried in and out of vehicles.

He started by inventing the world’s first electric scooter, which he called the Tri-Wheeler. From there he designed the world’s first wheelchair lift and steering controls, allowing Ralph to drive himself independently for the first time in his life.

Ralph quickly discovered that others just like him were hungry for that same independence. With just a handful of employees and despite overwhelming odds, Ralph started his business, and a new industry emerged.

Over the past four decades, BraunAbility products have revolutionized what independence means to wheelchair users. Today BraunAbility has over 1000 employees, all working to grow mobility across the world. Ralph Braun passed away in 2013, but his legacy is still the driving force behind the BraunAbility mission today.

Our History

First Motorized Wheelchair by Ralph Braun in 1962
First Motorized Wheelchair by Ralph Braun in 1962
1962

Ralph Braun Builds First Motorized Wheelchair

Ralph Braun Builds First Motorized Wheelchair

Ralph Braun built his first motorized wheelchair in his cousin’s farm shop in 1962, never dreaming his company would turn into a world-renowned industry leader and improve thousands of lives.

Save a Step is founded by Ralph Braun in 1963
Save a Step is founded by Ralph Braun in 1963
1963

Save-A-Step Is Formed

Save-A-Step Is Formed

Ralph began building Tri-Wheelers in his parents’ garage under the name Save-A-Step Manufacturing Company.

World’s First Wheelchair Lift in 1966
World’s First Wheelchair Lift in 1966
1966

First Wheelchair Lift Is Built

First Wheelchair Lift Is Built

Chrysler introduces the full-size van. Ralph builds the precursor to the Lift-A-Way wheelchair lift to fit this revolutionary vehicle.

1972

The Braun Corporation Is Established

The Braun Corporation Is Established

Save-A-Step Manufacturing Company incorporates as The Braun Corporation with just five employees

1975 Braun Corporation Expansion
1975 Braun Corporation Expansion
1975

Growing Demand, Company Expands

Growing Demand, Company Expands

Braun expands its main production building and additional buildings are constructed to meet the growing demand of lifts and Tri-Wheelers

1979 Braun Corporation Fire
1979 Braun Corporation Fire
1979

Fire Nearly Devastates Company

Fire Nearly Devastates Company

A devastating fire sweeps through the corporate headquarters. The aftermath reveals an office and production facilities gutted by the blaze.

Braun Corp facility rebuilt in 1980
Braun Corp facility rebuilt in 1980
1980

Upward and Onward

Upward and Onward

Shortly after the fire of ’79, the manufacturing facility is rebuilt and new corporate offices are constructed.

Swing-a-Way Wheelchair Lift introduced in 1984
Swing-a-Way Wheelchair Lift introduced in 1984
1984

Swing-A-Way Wheelchair Lift

Swing-A-Way Wheelchair Lift

An innovative Swing-a-Way wheelchair lift is introduced to the public.

Braun Corporation expansion in 1989
Braun Corporation expansion in 1989
1989

Demand and Expansion

Demand and Expansion

To meet growing demand, investments are made in new manufacturing technologies and facilities. A third plant opens, dramatically increasing Braun’s capabilities.

Braun Entervan hits the market
Braun Entervan hits the market
1991

The Entervan Arrives

The Entervan Arrives

The Braun Entervan is introduced, offering unparalleled ease of access for wheelchair users. This revolutionary vehicle soon becomes the flagship of Braun’s mobility line.

Braun Corporation vehicle assembly line 1994
Braun Corporation vehicle assembly line 1994
1994

Modern Manufacturing

Modern Manufacturing

A modern vehicle assembly building is opened, housing production lines for the Entervan and Paratransit vans.

BraunAbility brandmark
BraunAbility brandmark
2008

The BraunAbility Brand Is Born

The BraunAbility Brand Is Born

The BraunAbility brand is introduced as the name of the consumer mobility products, now available at over 200 dealer locations nationwide. In 2013 the name will extend over all divisions, including commercial, international and taxi markets.

The Braun Corporation
The Braun Corporation
2011

International Expansion

International Expansion

BraunAbility made two important acquisitions: one adding a new category of rear-entry wheelchair vans; and secondly an investment in Autoadapt, further expanding the company’s international outreach.

Ralph Braun remembered with Braunability Employees
Ralph Braun remembered with Braunability Employees
2013

A Leader Is Lost

A Leader Is Lost

Ralph Braun passed away at the age of 72 leaves behind a hand-selected leadership team and dedicated staff who share his vision and his values.

BraunAbility International Corporate Headquarters
BraunAbility International Corporate Headquarters
2014

More Freedom, More Mobility

More Freedom, More Mobility

BraunAbility continues to drive mobility innovation across the world, designing the world’s most reliable, dynamic and trusted mobility equipment.

Expand BraunAbility HistoryMinimize BraunAbility History

The BraunAbility Dealer Network

BraunAbility Wheelchair Van Dealer Network

Thanks to our nationwide dealer network, wherever you live or travel, BraunAbility is there too. Our dealers are mobility experts, providing in-depth mobility consultations to guarantee you have the right mobility solution for your needs.

Our dealers also provide 24/7 service support, whether you’re in need of regular maintenance or emergency assistance.

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BraunAbility North American Sales

North American Sales

Driving mobility throughout the United States and Canada.

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BraunAbility North American Sales

International Sales

BraunAbility products are available worldwide.

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BraunAbility Commercial Wheelchair Lift Sales

Commercial Sales

Mobility solutions for commercial applications.

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BraunAbility Jobs

Careers

Interested in joining the BraunAbility team?

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News & Press

Inside Indiana Business

Braun Corporation Expansion

The Braun Corporation will expand its manufacturing operations at its headquarters in Winamac, Indiana, creating more jobs, more mobility solutions, and more freedom for its customers across the world.

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Working Together for a More Mobile World

BraunAbility works side by side with organizations and businesses that
mirror our values and beliefs in quality, service and customer commitment.

  • Ralph Braun Foundation
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Ally Auto Financing
  • GE Capital
  • NMEDA Quality Assurance Program
  • NMEDA

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