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Before exercise equipment became the object of late-20th-century fitness fads, exercise machines served a more explicitly medical purpose. This Exercycle, for example, created by the Exercycle Corporation of New York, appeared long before the fitness boom of the 1970s, when exercise bicycles became staples in virtually every gym in the country. Mechanical engineer Gordon Bergfor developed the device in 1932 to help his wife battle a neuromuscular disorder. The motor-driven stationary bicycle maintained constant, full-body motion that helped alleviate her muscular ailments. The invention combined the movements of swimming, rowing, cycling, chin-ups, and calisthenics in one fluid workout. It worked so well that it soon attracted the attention of athletes and others who wanted to keep fit at a time when people's jobs generally required less and less physical exertion. From presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy to movie stars John Wayne and Jane Fonda and numerous professional athletes, millions of Americans became passionate devotees of Gordon Bergfor's creation.

ManufacturerExercyle Corporation
OriginNew York, NY
Object ID100.258
Credit LineGift of Dan R. Young

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