The Captain’s Wheel

Posted on Thursday, April 19th, 2018 by John Wood
Here’s a very unusual piece of training equipment made by the Narragansett Machine Company: The Captain’s Wheel. It was obviously an adaptation of the steering mechanism of a vessel, albeit, this version had a friction brake which allowed for increased resistance. Using this device a trainee could build a “different” kind of rotational strength by twisting or wrenching it from side to side. This was marketed specifically for wrestlers.

Also, just to give you an idea of the type of quality that the Narragansett machine Company was known for, the arms were made of Ash, the rims were made of Cherry and the mountings consisted of polished brass — very “steam punk.” This piece of equipment dates to about 1905.

German Weightlifting Club ~ 1905

Posted on Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 by John Wood
A German weightlifting club circa 1905 with a selection of classic equipment. Of note are the large and rather impressive kettlebells. If you are familiar with your kettlebell history you know that the Germans were particularly fond of kettlebell juggling which is the reason for the squared off handles.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Wellesley College Gymnasium, 1905

Posted on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017 by John Wood
A look at the Wellesley College Gymnasium, circa 1905. This awesome facility was outfitted by A.G. Spalding & Bros. and consisted of 6 Counterbalanced Booms, 42 Stall Bars and Benches, 35 Italian Hemp Climbing Ropes, 12 Rope Ladders, 3 Vaulting Boxes, 3 Vertical Window Ladders, and 12 Balance Beams.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

George Levasseur

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2017 by John Wood
George Levasseur was the strongman for the Ringling Bros. Circus in the early 20th century. Here he is bending a horse shoe, circa 1905.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Giuseppe Lamberti

Posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 by John Wood
A look at Giuseppe Lamberti, circa 1905. Unfortunately not much is known about this gent, but in the only resource we have for him he is listed at a wrestling champion. We have not been able to find any more details. Regardless, like most wrestlers of those days, his physical development was impressive, any modern bodybuilder would be happy to have a set of arms like his.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Adrian, Michigan YMCA, 1905

Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2014 by John Wood
A look at the interior of the Adrian, Michigan YMCA, circa 1905. The equipment selection was not numerous, but the results obtained from training with a running track, some flying rings, a climbing rope and a set of parallel bars will likely beat the pants off what can be done at most modern gyms with far more to choose from.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The Columbia Gymnasium

Posted on Monday, January 20th, 2014 by John Wood

Columbia Gymnasium

A look at the Columbia University (then college) gymnasium circa 1905. The wall pulleys were made by The Narragansett Machine Company and were state of the art back then. The intended training was gymnastic oriented as was common during this time frame, but one could certainly still achieve very good results with this equipment selection. With so much open space and natural light, this would have been a fun place to train.

Stone Throwing

Posted on Saturday, September 28th, 2013 by John Wood

Competitive stone throwing has been a part of athletic festivals for a long time, including this poster for a Swiss Turnfest, circa July 9th, 1905.   Stone throwing has actually been recorded in the Basel-Stadt area of Switzerland as far back as the 13th century.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.