It is hard to imagine that the machines in this collection of photographs that have been thought, designed and realised in the Victorian Era as equipment for the exercise of the body; what they mainly remind of are some sort of medieval torture contraption like the popular Breaking Wheel. Some of these objects though were instead ancestors of the modern instruments which are still part of our gyms nowadays: an example of these are all those devices for the training of the arms, not so much changed compared to the other machineries.

In the cover picture an object to practice the correct posture.

If many were simply useless inventions, some of these machines are today known to have been objectively damaging, like the one for the posture and the stretching, which must have caused issues and pain to the users of the past. Although today it seems like a paradox, there machines were expensive and extremely fashionable during the whole 1800, hence they were certainly reserved for the high class.

Trying to explain their use nowadays appears to be utterly complex

Below: training equipment to horse riding

Below: arm training equipment

Below:  training equipment  for straightening the female posture

Below:  side-training equipment for the back

Below: stomach massager training equipment

Below: biceps training equipment

Below: back massager training equipment

Below: foot training equipment

Below: stretching equipment

Below: arm training equipment

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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