Since its beginning in 1986, Top End has produced medal-winning, performance wheelchairs for the best athletes in the world – so let us build one for you.
Top End was founded in 1986 by George Murray and Chris Peterson. Their commitment and passion to design and manufacture sport specific wheelchairs have allowed many people to follow their dreams to be active and competitive after a life changing accident or disease either at a participatory or elite level. As a result, Team Invacare athletes have won countless medals using Invacare Top End wheelchairs at the 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. Here is our story:
Chris Peterson became interested in sport wheelchairs while first working for a provider in New York that sold home care products and wheelchairs. He became the company’s technical expert in the light weight everyday wheelchairs in 1983 and started attending wheelchair-sporting events all over the world. Peterson moved to Florida in 1985 to work for a small company where he could create his own sport chairs. He started Top End the next year with his partner George Murray, who was one of the best wheelchair racing athletes of all time, designing and manufacturing racing wheelchairs.
By 1988, Top End added custom everyday and basketball chairs to its product line. These were followed shortly by rugby chairs. In 1990, Peterson wanted to help his customers to stay fit and was inspired by his own experience as a competitive cyclist, so he designed and began to manufacture handcycles. Then, in 1992, Peterson produced the first sport specific tennis chair, earning multiple patents with his pioneering three-wheel design. Since then, many of the product innovations and enhancements come from athlete and consumer input which Peterson incorporated into functional designs. This consumer-driven product enhancement put Top End on top and has kept it there since. Mary Carol Peterson joined Top End in 1992 to market these great products and many of her “action” photos are featured on our site.
In 1993, Top End became a part of Invacare Corporation of Elyria, OH, the world’s leading manufacturer and distributor of medical products which promote recovery and active lifestyles for people requiring home and other non-acute health care. This partnership helped fill a niche for Invacare by giving them a sports and recreation product line and engineering collaboration. This joint effort between Invacare’s Custom Manual and Top End design engineers has contributed to the success of both Top End and Invacare Custom Manual everyday chairs. Invacare’s support with product testing, engineering, documentation and production has helped Top End to manufacture the best possible products in the world.