Selling Exercise Equipment: Always a Heavy Lift

The rise of exertainment

In 1932, Mrs. Gordon Bergfor of New York City learned from her doctor that she had a chronic neuromuscular disease. The only hope she had was finding an exercise machine that worked every major muscle group simultaneously. Unfortunately, no such machine existed at the time. Fortunately, Mr. Bergfor was a mechanical engineer and built his wife one himself. When neighbors and friends noticed the relief the device brought to Mrs. Bergfor, they asked for one, too—and the Exercycle hit the market. Tens of thousands sold. Within a few years, loyal users would come to include John Wayne and President Eisenhower.

@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.