Most of us understand the health-based significance of time spent on a treadmill. We value the fact that it is a low-impact workout that offers us the ability to gain cardiovascular training simultaneously. However, when it comes to the treadmill’s transformation, most of us are quite oblivious to its historic creation.
We gladly get online seeking the best treadmill for walking. We want someone to delineate the treadmills that will best serve our at home fitness goals. And, we usually want to know which ones are going to be the most cost effective for our budgets. However, we rarely question where the treadmill got its start. We don’t consider how this intriguing device came to be one of the most well-loved and readily utilized pieces of exercise equipment for homes and gyms worldwide.
Never fear, though, we have all the answers you have been looking for.
The Treadmill, Where did it come from?
The treadmill, where did it come from? You might be shocked to find out the answers to this question. Believe it or not, the treadmill, initially referred to as the tread wheel, is an Ancient Roman concept. It evolved during the height of that empire.
It was a Roman design. In fact, it’s been around since the latter part of the first century. Back then, it wasn’t an exercise tool. Instead, it was used to help lift heavily weighted objects. The initial wheel allowed men to walk inside the wheel while replacing the concept of a winch and crane. Less men were required to do the work while simultaneously lifting more weight.
What happened between that time and the next mention of a treadmill? We’re not sure. But we are certain that it served yet another purpose. More info here.
The 1800’s Version
At that time in history, power was derived from sources like wind and water. Unfortunately, these natural power sources were not always reliable. In an effort to guarantee control of consistent power, farmers came up with an ingenious idea.
In fact, it was the creation of a horse treadmill that helped create the concept of horse power. The machine they created was able to capture the horse’s stopping power, or force of strength required to power the machines they were attached to. A draft horse’s pulling power was the catalyst for the concept of horse power as previously mentioned.
Since the horse treadmill was such a great hit on the farm, people came up with other methods of power generating. They created treadmills for their goats, sheep, and even dogs. The energy the animals exerted on the machine allowed for faster butter churning, mill fans, and even cream separation. They were able to produce rotary and reciprocating power to aid in all their home based operations. Pretty inventive!
Another use for these devices was as a punishment for prisoners. A British engineer created the first prison based treadmills. They were used as hard labor measures that allowed the prisoner to create the power necessary for grinding corn and pumping water (learn more). Of course, all that came to a halt when hard labor was banned in 1889.
So, it wasn’t until 1952 that a medical treadmill became a reality. Not surprising, it was a cardiologist who first used a treadmill for medical purposes. Then, by the 1960s and 70s treadmills became popular exercise tools.
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