The Titanic Gym

Posted on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 by John Wood
Here’s something you don’t see every day; this is a rare photograph of the workout room from The Titanic — yes, that Titanic, the one that sunk back in 1912.

It may look familiar as they recreated it for a few scenes in the movie of the same name — Looks like they did a pretty good job. Note the early 2-man Rowing machine and exercise bikes. On the ships of the White Star Line, which the Titanic was, all featured Zander Machines for their first class passengers.

On the night of April 14, when the ship struck an iceberg, the physical instructor Mr. T. W. McCauley remained at his post and went down with the ship.

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 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.

Vintage Indian Clubs

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 by John Wood
Many examples of early Indian Clubs were custom made by club swinging enthusiasts, much like this colorful pair from the early 1900’s.

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

Posted on Sunday, August 28th, 2011 by John Wood

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett

Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett was the first African American on the Harvard University staff and the director and curator of the Harvard Gymnasium from 1859 to 1871. He also taught gymnastics, boxing and the use of dumbbells.

Hewlett is pictured here with the tools of his craft: boxing gloves, Indian Clubs, Dumbbells, medicine balls and the wooden wand. It should also be known that this picture represents the very first time a medicine ball was photographed in the US (taken around 1860). Interestingly, at the time most physical culture figures generally recommended very light apparatus work but Hewlett appeared to favor much heavier clubs and dumbbells. Also of note are those pretty nifty “dumbbell clubs” on the left.

Two other items of interest about Mr. Molyneaux: His daughter, Virginia married Frederick Douglass. In 1900, his son, E.M. Hewlett, became the first African American lawyer to win a case before the Supreme Court of the United States (Carter vs. Texas).