The Geisel Exerciser

Posted on Friday, May 22nd, 2015 by John Wood
Here’s one for the “betcha-didn’t-know-this-one” pile: Here we have a vintage advertisement for “The Geisel Exerciser” which appeared in the December, 1907 issue of Bernarr McFadden’s ‘Physical Culture’ magazine. This device was actually patented in 1906 and is composed of a rod, encased by a heavy spring with a pair of handles. One uses it by grasping the handles and pushing or pulling them together in various positions. And this Geisel fellow from Springfield, Mass. who invented it? It doesn’t appear that he made a tremendous splash in the physical training field but his son Theodor would go on to become well known as Dr. Seuss of children’s book fame.
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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 Spalding Special Friction Wrestling Machine

Posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2014 by John Wood

Here’s an interesting one from days-gone-by: The Spalding Special Friction Wrestling Machine, or, in other words, two long handles attached to a friction brake. For combat training purposes one would bend or pull this way and that, with resistance of course, focusing a great deal on the muscles of the waist and trunk (what they evidently call the “core” these days.) This might even fall under the “functional” training designation today. Regardless, I’d say this design has many interesting possibilities. By the way, the $12 price tag would equal over $300 in today’s money when adjusted for inflation.

1903 German Sport Club

Posted on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 by John Wood
1903 German Sport Club
A look at a German Sport club, circa 1903. As for their equipment, as was the custom with German-style kettlebells, the handles were large and open to enable juggling… the barbells also appear to have thick handles, which encourage grip and forearm development.