Clark Gable

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2018 by John Wood
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.

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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 Narragansett Machine Company Adjustable Barbell Set

Posted on Sunday, March 30th, 2014 by John Wood

A look at an adjustable barbell Set from the Narragansett Machine Company, of Providence, Rhode Island, circa 1910 or so. Each plate weighs 5 pounds and the bar weighed ten pounds so when fully loaded, this set weighed 120 pounds in total which makes it just about perfect for home use. This set also featured something that I have never seen before or since: latches on the inner plates to keep the barbell plates in place.

Also of note is that fact that barbell plates and equipment from just about every other equipment company, including those who were older, are fairly “common” in comparison to this set. I know of no one who has even seen a single Narragansett Barbell or plate in the flesh, let alone owned one. If you should come across any, please let us know.

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.