Dio Lewis was an early physical culture pioneer who was outspoken on the role of temperance, clean living and physical training as a part of education. His system of gymnastics was eventually adopted by schools and laid the groundwork for modern physical education.
Being a swashbuckling leading man in Hollywood is tough work, which is why Clark Gable here, regularly engaged in physical training throughout his acting career. Not only that, but the posture, and body control developed from this training increased screen presence – Gable was one of the most popular actors of his time. The wall pulleys are likely from The Narragansett Machine Company.
This shot was taken in the Paramount studios gymnasium, circa 1937 (which was a barn on one of the back lots.) Steve McQueen was famously photographed training in the very same gym a few decades later.
Running the country is hard work which is why a regular training schedule is a good idea. Here’s Calvin Coolidge getting in a quick Indian Clubs workout in the White House, circa 1923. House Speaker Frederick H. Gillett looks on while training with the wall pulley. It’s not hard to understand where Coolidge’s interest from physical training stemmed from, he attended Amherst College (class of 1895) which had an extensive school-wide physical education program led by the physical culture pioneer Edward “Old Doc” Hitchcock.