These images come from a catalogue distributed by “Görransson’s mekaniska verkstad”, a gymnastics equipment company, and are reproduced in a book published by Dr. Alfred Levertin on Dr. G. Zander’s Medico-Mechanische Gymastik (1892). Aside from the shock of seeing the gymgoers’ choice of athletic wear (thick three-piece suits with pocket watches affixed on chains), there is something uncanny about the marked lack of exertion displayed on Zander’s patients’ faces. As Thomas explains, unlike contemporary Peloton and Crossfit leaderboards, which prioritize competition and reward individual effort, Zander’s technology was marketed as a passive activity — with some devices even driven by steam, gasoline, or electricity. All one had to do was connect their body to the machine and it would do the work for them. . . or so they were told.
From Public Domain Review: publicdomainreview.org/collection/zander-gym. For more on Zander, see the article by Carolyn de la Pena at www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/29/pena.php