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.
It consists of a giant metal frame, about seven feet in diameter, with straps for the feet and overhead “rungs” which are gripped with the hands during use. A user then controls the movement of the wheel with body power – they say it’s a great “core” workout.
In 1936, at the Berlin Olympics, there was an exhibition of “Wheel Gymnastics” which spread the popularity of the Gym Wheel to other countries. Today the German Wheel” is virtually unknown in the U.S. but there have been contests and even world Championships going on in Europe and Japan for decades.
One of Lange’s star pupils was Mike Burgener, who came to Notre Dame as a 165-pound freshman halfback looking to gain size and strength in order to compete on the collegiate gridiron. Under Lang’s tutelage, Burgener grew to 182 pounds, a key contributor to the 1966 National Championship team, and set an American record of 400 pounds in the press. Rather interestingly, Burgener also went on to become of the the “founding fathers” of Crossfit.