Behold, Captain James Chiosso’s Gymnastic Polymachinon!
It’s basically the Bowflex of the 19th century. You can do curls, squats, chest work, leg extensions, head bobs (see image) and much, much more!
Captain Chiosso worked as a gymnastics professor at the University College School in London. He built his first weightlifting device sometime between 1829 and 1831. Over the next several decades he refined the machine, enclosing the weights and pulleys and designing interior compartments for smoother movement.
Carolyn Thomas de la Pena wrote in The Body Electric: How Strange Machines Built the Modern American: “Long an advocate of traditional gymnastics, Chiosso had been searching for a way to bring healthful exercise to individuals who were intimidated by organized fitness or who were without access to public facilities. He believed the solution lay in bringing a gymnastics routine to people who would not come to it.”
According to Jan Todd’s Physical Culture and the Body Beautiful: “Chiosso considered his machine ‘elegant and ornamental’ and suitable for prominent display in the dining room, library, or boudoir of anyone’s home. To check their progress, and to see how they compared to their neighbors, people could try the strength testing machines that appeared on many street corners and at fairs.’”
A newspaper article, titled “Drowning Cat Gave World Basketball" by A.P. D’Ambra, details an interesting take on the creation of basketball. According to the author, when Dr. James Naismith was a young boy, he tossed a cat into a bucket of water. He noticed the perfect arc and flight of the tossed cat and that gave him the idea of basketball.
The second part of the article discusses Naismith and the game of basketball. It explains how the game of basketball has evolved and how it has spread all over the world. Naismith (November 6, 1861 – November 28, 1939), known as “The Father of Basketball,” was born in Almonte, Ontario. He earned his theological degree from McGill University and graduated from Springfield College, then the YMCA Training School, in 1891.
After graduation, he was hired as a faculty member at Springfield, where he taught for five years. It was in his first year as a faculty member at Springfield College that he created the game of basketball as an activity for an unruly class.
Here we are, another week, another Monday, another Mustache.
Reverend Reed was the founder and first president of the School for Christian Workers (now Springfield College). It was Reed’s interest in the formal training of men who would devote their life to Christian service that led him to found the school which was dedicated to training Sunday school teachers and YMCA workers. Reed was responsible for securing the funds and land necessary to start and expand the school to its current location on Massasoit Lake. Eventually, the YMCA department separated from the School for Christian Workers becoming the YMCA Training School and later the International YMCA Training College. In 1891 Reed resigned as president of the Training School, but maintained his interest and connection until his death in 1932.
Welcome to the first Mustache Monday in August! Today we’re featuring Frederick Dowe Fagg (c. 1888)
Fagg began his work with the YMCA in 1886, and after completing college, he continued to pursue this passion. Until retiring in 1917, he worked with Association branches in Massachusetts, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, and California. From 1920 to 1923, Fagg served as the State Secretary at New Haven, Connecticut. He retired on January 1, 1924 and returned to San Diego, California. Fagg died on April 5, 1942.
This lantern slide shows a group of students laying the foundation for the Washington Gladden Boathouse at Springfield College. The Boathouse, located on the shore of Lake Massasoit and at the bottom of Rally Hill, was completed on March 19, 1901. At the request of Frank Beebe, who donated the materials for the boathouse, the structure was named after Reverend Washington Gladden. Plans for the boathouse were prepared by J. Claude Armstrong (class of 1903), a master carpenter was secured, and Frank N. Seerley was chosen to lead the construction.
At the request of the student workers, two weeks of the academic year were set aside to build the boathouse, starting the long-standing Springfield College tradition of students volunteering on school projects. The boathouse project is believed to be Springfield College’s first “Work Day,” which has since evolved into “Humanics in Action.” The completed building was two-stories and fifty-three feet by twenty-nine feet. The boathouse was dedicated on June 18, 1902, during commencement.