More home fitness equipment (1940)

To continue the theme of keeping fit at home as started with yesterday’s post, today we take a step further back in time for a look at the types of home fitness equipment advertised to physical culture enthusiasts in the 1940s. Home weight training equipment and instructional courses were advertised for readers who hoped to build physiques like those that they saw depicted in fitness publications. The following ads were featured in the August 1940 issue of Bob Hoffman’s magazine Strength & Health.

The integrated business structure of Hoffman’s fitness enterprise is evident here, with all the exercise equipment being manufactured and sold by his York Barbell company, and with Hoffman’s star weightlifter John Grimek being featured in the ad for the barbell and dumbbell set. Much of the basic weight training equipment seen in these ads — such as barbells, dumbbells, weight plates, lifting belts and weighted belts — is still in common use today, while certain pieces such as iron boots have fallen out of favor. And the “teeth lifting” apparatus sounds dubious at best, and downright painful at worst!



2 thoughts on “More home fitness equipment (1940)

  1. JB617 April 24, 2020 / 5:03 am

    I had to chuckle at the first ad; “Send this coupon NOW with a Five-Dollar Bill.” I guess people were more trustworthy back then. Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh at FoundationsOfIron April 24, 2020 / 9:40 am

      Yeah, I’ve always heard that it’s not a good idea to send cash in the mail. But you see this kind of thing in a lot of older ads!


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