The Father of Modern At-Home Workout Machines?

Who was Gustav Zander and what was he thinking?

Dr. Jonas Gustav Vilhelm Zander was born on March 29th, 1835 in Stockholm, Sweden. Zander was a Swedish physician, orthopedist and one of the originators of mechanotherapy. Mechanotherapy was defined in 1890 as “the employment of mechanical means for the cure of disease”.

He invented a therapeutic method of exercise carried out by means of a special apparatus. They were indeed ‘special’. Dr. Gustav went on to create the Zander Therapeutical Institute in Stockholm. Located near the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too.


1880 – Lecturer of the Stockholm University

1896 – Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

His machine’s big debut

At the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Zander displayed his working machines and unveiled his Institute. Thirty years later he’d brought his Institutes to nearly 150 countries. The machines were typically available in health spas as they were too expensive for everyday people.

How lucky am I?

No, I didn’t get one of his machines. What I did happen to stumble upon was one of his catalogs from the Centennial Exhibition. It’s the only one in existence, so… you’re welcome.

Fun Fact!

Do you know that super heavy Nautilus machine that’s sitting in your parent’s basement? Arthur Jones “invented” that in the 1970s. Someone very quickly pointed out that his machine looked very similar to Zander’s. Jones denied even knowing who Zander was.

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