The Forteza Gymuseum

  • Originally published on the site on Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Gymuseum 1

The Gymuseum at the Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts studio in Ravenswood, Chicago is a unique “living museum” collection of antique physical culture apparatus, mostly dating from the period 1880-1910.

Many of the items on permanent display are functional and can be used in exercise classes, while some others are for viewing only.

The collection includes:

* an 1880s vintage cast-iron and oak rowing machine
* an assortment of classic cast-iron dumbbells and hardwood Indian clubs
* “Sandow” brand spring-loaded dumbbells in their original packing
* an “Italian pattern” broadsword fencing mask
* a wall-mounted pulley weightlifting machine
* a 1911 women’s gym suit
* a leather medicine ball
* a wooden exercise wand and rings
* an early boxing speed bag.

Gymuseum 2

Also on display is a gallery of antique prints showing combat athletes in training, as well as several large, photo-realistic reproduction posters featuring Bartitsu, boxing and the late-Victorian revival of historical fencing.

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