Out of the Museum

Exercise good throughout the ages and at any age

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

Studebaker is a household name and there is a local connection to it. Do you know where Studebaker originated and why?

If you don’t know, you’re in for a surprise.

Please send answers by Tuesday to Answers will appear in next week’s paper.

Last week’s mystery item

Maureen Munro was the first this week to say last week’s mystery item is early exercise equipment.

Heidi Smith added humor to her answer: “It is showing my age but I used one just like it to exercise. I now use stretchy rubber/plastic to achieve the save effect but nothing works on this old body anymore.”

Smith of course knows that exercise is good throughout the generations and at any age.

Ovlan Fritz, Jr. said the mystery item is for exercising.

“It should have two handles like the modern item,” Fritz, Jr. said. “You pull each handle to build up your back and arm muscles. I’ve heard it called a ‘bust builder.’”

Anne C. Birge also said that the mystery item was a chest exerciser.

“You pull it with the handles to make good looking pecs,” Birge said. “We used them in the ’60s/’70s.”

The history enthusiast also sent in a photo (see above) of a salt cellar, which was featured two weeks ago. The salt cellar is from her great-grandmother’s Haviland china. The tape measurer illustrates this place-setting item’s size.

Karen Boyden Crum and Kathy Freeman, Lincoln Area Archives Museum volunteers, put together last week’s mystery item. Boyden Crum’s antique wooden handle is older than Freeman’s complete, vintage exerciser set.

The mystery item is the Sandow Chest Expander Spring Exerciser. Tightly-coiled spring was attached to the handle loops, according to Boyden Crum, and a person’s chest muscles were strengthened by pulling apart the handles.

In the late 1800s, German bodybuilder Eugen Sandow popularized a simple, iconic resistance workout, according to the museum volunteer.  The “father of modern bodybuilding” is said to be the first bodybuilder to emphasize showing off his physique rather than his lifting strength, according to Boyden Crum. 

Sandow gained a patent for the antique, wooden handle that was part of a set, much like the later, complete set shown. A modern version of the chest expander is still being used today.

If you want hints for this week’s mystery item, visit the Lincoln Area Archives Museum. The museum is open between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at 640 5th St.