Professor Adrian Schmidt’s “Automatic Exerciser” (also called a “Schmidt Machine”) was one of the very first commercially made pieces of strength equipment. It was ingenious in its simplicity since it allows for a number of exercises — especially those which required incredibly heavy weights — to be performed in a minimum of space. Movements such as hip lifts or deadlift lockouts (i.e. ‘The Health Lift) etc which often required hundreds of pounds of weight could now be performed with only a few dozen thanks to the leverage principle.
Schmidt felt, and rightly so, that maintaining a strong healthy life was a matter of maintaining a strong and healthy back. This concept, as well as instructions for the exerciser, were all explained in his booklet “Life’s Backbone.” Back in 1917, when this ad appeared, you could send away for this booklet for 4 cents!