William Staub, Pioneer of Affordable Treadmill, Dies at 96 – NYTimes.com
Before personal trainers and paddleboard yoga, before “Just Do It,” Bill Staub read a book that changed his life. It was called “Aerobics,” published in 1968, and it declared that a better life was rooted in better cardiovascular health.
“It said if you can run a mile in eight minutes, you’ll always be in the upper echelon of fitness,” Mr. Staub’s son Thomas recalled.
So Mr. Staub started running — and soon made his way to the workshop at Besco, the manufacturing company he owned in Clifton, N.J. While employees on one side of the building made fuel nozzles for airplane engines and wing weights for helicopters, he was on the other side, building early versions of a device that the book argued had the potential to get many more Americans exercising — and on their way to that eight-minute mile.
The device was a treadmill, and the author of the book, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, presumed it would never be affordable for home use.
Mr. Staub proved otherwise. His earliest models, built under the brand name PaceMaster, had wooden rollers and a simple on-off switch near the floor. They were more rudimentary than the ones doctors had started using in the 1950s for stress tests, but they were also much cheaper, as little as $399 in the 1970s.
“He was the pioneer for the use of the treadmill in the home,” Dr. Cooper said of Mr. Staub. “He took away a lot of the excuses people had not to exercise. They don’t have to worry about the weather, safety or whatever may be. I don’t know how long he exercised for himself, but I know he didn’t die early.”
Mr. Staub died on July 19 at his home in Clifton. He was 96. His sons say he was walking on one of his treadmills as recently as two months ago.
Strange Random Exercise Quote:
“I believe that every human has a finite amount of heartbeats. I don’t intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises.” ― Neil Armstrong
Posted on July 30, 2012, in Article and tagged aerobic, Clifton, Cooper, Kenneth H. Cooper, Missouri State University, Neil Armstrong, Physical exercise, Treadmill, United States. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.