EXERCISERS & HOME TRAINERS
Home trainers owed their invention to inclement winter weather and the need for racing cyclists to maintain their exercise regimes on a daily basis.
An important commercial application for elaborate indoor cycling machines, which no doubt allowed funds to be allocated for their further development, was for exhibition purposes. Racing cyclists – who were the top class sports stars of their day – could earn even more money for their sponsors by cycling against the clock and against each other on such machines while on promotional tours.
The road sculler of 1888, illustrated below, is an interesting ancestor of the home trainer.
c1900 Hunt & Son Home Trainer
By the turn of the century, many companies were manufacturing home training equipment for practical use by the casual cyclist. This one is just about light enough to be carried and, though simple in design, does the job required. Simplicity was an important element, so that it could be easily maintained and repaired.
H. HUNT & Co
89 & 93 Windsor St, Liverpool
Ringo’s biography mentions his apprenticeship at H. Hunt & Co:
Ritchie took a messenger job with the British Railroad, but had to quit when he failed the medical exam. He next worked as a barman on a boat that traveled between Liverpool and Wales, but he was fired when he turned up for work in an inebriated state and lipped off to his boss. Finally, when he was seventeen, he took a job at Henry Hunt and Son’s engineering firm as an apprentice joiner.
…The Hurricanes and their intrepid leader were known as much for their outlandish dress and exuberant stage performance as for their music and by 1960, they were the top ranked band in Liverpool. 1960 not only brought the band an offer of a thirteen week summer engagement at Butlins in Pwllheli, Wales, but also a big dilemma for Richard Starkey. In order to accompany the band to Pwllheli, Ritchie would have to give up his apprenticeship at Hunt and Son.
His parents desperately tried to persuade him to stay with the program as did his fiancee, a lass named Geraldine. However, the lure of twenty pounds a week proved to be too much. The engagement was called off, the day job was abandoned, and Richard Starkey traipsed off to a rather damp summer of adventure with Rory, John Byrnes, Charles O’Brien, and Wally Egmond.
H. Hunt & Co info with thanks to – http://www.gtworld.co.uk/britiansfirst.htm
Ringo Starr info with thanks to – http://web2.airmail.net/gshultz/bio1.html
Home trainer and exerciser info from my collection of Gerry Moore’s research material