The Treadmill – A Brief History

The Treadmill – A Brief History

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A Brief History Of Treadmill
A Brief History Of Treadmill

Underneath your feet the constrained space. And the monotony of going nowhere fast it feels like hours have gone by. But it’s only been 11 minutes and you wonder, why am I torturing myself. The thing has got to be considered a cruel and unusual punishment. Actually, that’s exactly what it is or was you see in the 1800s as the treadmill.

The Treadmills were created to punish English prisoners at the time. The English prison system was abysmally bad. Execution and deportation were often the punishments of choice. And those who were locked away based hours of solitude in filthy cells. So social movements led by religious groups philanthropies and celebrities like Charles Dickens sought to change these dire conditions and help reform the prisoners.

When their movement succeeded entire prisons were remodeled and new forms of rehabilitation such as the treadmill were introduced. Here’s how the original version invented in 1818 by English engineers Sir William cubit worked prisoners stepped on 24 spokes of a large paddlewheel.

As the wheel turned the prisoner was forced to keep stepping up or risk falling off. Similar to modern stepper machines. Meanwhile, the rotation made here pumps out water, crushed grain, or power Mills, which is where the name treadmill originative.

These devices were seen as a fantastic way of whipping prisoners into shape. And that added benefit of powering Mills helped rebuild a British economy. Decimated by the Napoleonic wars, it was around for all concerned except the prisoners. It’s estimated that on average prisoners spent six or so hours a day on treadmills. The equivalent of climbing 5000 to 14,000 feet.

14,000 feet is roughly Mount Everest’s halfway point. Imagine doing that five days a week with little food. The idea quickly spread across the British Empire and America within a decade of its creation, over 50 English prisons posted a treadmill and America a similar amount.

Unsurprisingly the exertion combined with poor nutrition saw many prisoners suffer breakdowns and injuries. Not that prison guards seemed to care. In 1824 New York prison guard James Hardie credited the device with training is more boisterous inmates. Writing that the monotonous steadiness and not its severity constitutes its terror.

A quote many still agree with and treadmills lasted in England until the late 19th century when they were banned for being excessively cruel under the prisons act of 1898. But of course, the torture device returned with a vengeance this time targeting the unsuspecting public.

In 1911 a treadmill patent was registered the US and my linked in 52 the 4 runners for today’s modern treadmill had been created. When the jogging craze hit the US in the 1970s the treadmill was thrust back into the limelight as an easy and convenient way to improve aerobic fitness and lose unwanted pounds.

Which to be fair it’s pretty good at doing and the machine has maintained its popularity since. So the next time you voluntarily subject yourself to what was once a cruel and unusual punishment. Just be glad you can control when you’ll hop off.


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اس آرٹیکل کو بہتر بنانے میں ہماری مدد کریں

اگر آپ کو اس آرٹیکل میں کوئی غلطی نظر آ رہی ہے۔  تو درست اور قابلِ اعتبار معلومات کی فراہمی میں ہماری مدد کریں۔ ہم درست معلومات کی ترسیل کے لیے سخت محنت کرتے ہیں ۔

اگر آپ بھی ہمارے ساتھ معلومات کا تبادلہ کرنا چاہتے ہیں تو ہماری اس کمیونٹی میں شامل ہو کر  معلومات کے سلسلے کو بڑھانے میں ہماری مدد کریں۔


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