Check Out Fascinating Photos of the World’s First Fitness Machines Used 130 Years Ago

Each shot shows Dr Zander’s machines aiding workouts for different parts of the body – much like the mechanised trainers in a modern-day gym.
The photographs were taken in 1892 and are now kept by Stockholm’s National Museum of Science and Technology.
Dr Zander, a physician and orthopaedist from Sweden, recognised the link between exertion and overall health.
Born in 1835, he attributed his knowledge of resistance in the building of muscles to his time in medical school, in the early 1860s.
Dr Zander believed muscles needed to be built up gradually over time, so began working on machines that would mimic systems and methods of movements that humans had been using for centuries.
He would work on a version of the famous 18th century workout machine, the Gymnasticon, simplifying the model and allowing the user to be as active or passive as they wanted.
This can be seen in some of the images: in one shot, the user can be seen sitting on a horse-like contraption, exerting as much energy as they wish to rock the machine.
The creations were targeted at the wealthier members of society, allowing the likes of businessmen to separate the experience of exercise from what otherwise would have been seen as labour.
In the early 20th Century, Dr Zander’s machines were widespread across the US.
But in the 1970s, Arthur Jones would create machines known as Nautlius, which aided high intensity training and moved with the times.
Those machines would become extremely popular, leaving Dr Zander’s much more comfort-based creations to become a precursor for today’s sweat-inducing exercise machines.

Written by PH

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