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Joseph Pilates   Circa 1940's

Joseph Pilates working on one of his earlier models of his Trapeze Table, aka The Cadillac.  In his original design, he attached poles to the ends of hospital beds and added a trapeze above and over the table.  He utilized springs, which he removed from the mattress, to assist WW I veterans, returning who were bed-bound, either temporarily or permanently.

For a detailed history of Joseph & Clara Pilates & their migration to the US and his work here - please vist: &

Joseph Pilates   Circa 1920's

Joseph Pilates demonstrating how to use one of his specially designed chairs which he adapted with springs  for rehabilitation purposes

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 Joseph Pilates Circa 1920's
"Control Stretch / Star"

Pilates- Designed by a man for men and not just for rehabilitation.  Pilates serves as a challenge for elite athletic rehabilitation, for both men and women

When World War I broke out in the summer of 1914, Pilates & his circus troupe were taken into custody as enemy aliens and interned for the duration of the war on the Isle of Man, located off the west coast of England. He was one of several physical culturists who led the camp’s daily exercise routines for the more than 24,000 inmates housed there. During this period, Pilates developed his ideas on fitness & gained experience as a teacher.

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Joseph Pilates and other circus mates.  Circa WW I, 1914 

The Poise & Posture Headdress   Circa  1940-1950

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The weighted bar provides important postural feedback & requires immense balance, control, & awareness over the position of the head. The “head dress” has not found its way into mainstream teaching, but showcases just how far Joseph Pilates would go to solve movement problems!

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Circa  1950 - 1960

 A demonstration of one of Joe's students exercising on the Universal Reformer.   She is performing Short Box Series - Full Round Back into the Well. 

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