The “before and after” shot has been a staple in strength training advertising for a long, long time. Above, you’ll see the very first one, circa 1881. D.L. Dowd, subject of the above photos, was a New York professor who was simply tired of being skinny. At first he attempted gymnastics, but with trial and error, and little knowledge of the human body, he gained all of two pounds over the course of a year. Most people would have given up with such pitiful results, but Dowd persevered.
He reasoned that a greater knowledge of anatomy as well as a systematic approach should lead to much better results, which they clearly did. The picture on the right is the result of three years of training with “Dowd’s Health Exerciser” a doorway gym of his own design which allowed him to train each muscle group progressively. Dowd’s “after” picture is certainly still impressive 130+ years later.