History of the Vibrating Exercise Belt: Didn’t Work Then, Doesn’t Work Now

If you’ve ever ridden the Carousel of Progress, currently located at Walt Disney World, you’ll come across a scene in the 1940’s in which John’s daughter, Patty, is using an old vibrating exercise machine to shed a few inches before her big Halloween party. As John points out, it doesn’t actually work and never did. What is that machine, where did it come from, and who invented it?

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Sources
Kansas Historical Society – Belt Vibrator (Sep 8 2010)

Medico-Mechanische Gymnastik – Dr G Zander (1892)

A System of Practical Therapeutics Vol 1 – 1891

The Body Electric: How Strange Machines Built the Modern American by Carolyn Thomas de la Pena

Smithsonian – Dr. Gustav Zander’s Victorian-Era Exercise Machines Made the Bowflex Look Like Child’s Play (Jan 8 2016)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Swedish Gymnastics (Mar 15 1891)

Pittsburgh Daily Post
Will Develop Every Muscle (Nov 15 1896)

The Decatur Daily Review
Keeping House Nowadays Is Just “Plugging Along” (Nov 16 1928)

Clarion-Ledger
Belt Vibrators Remodel Figure (Jan 30 1961)

FTC
Marketers of Ab Force Weight Loss Device Agree to Pay $7 Million for Consumer Redress (Jan 14 2009)

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