Special #1165

Vintage Combo Reformer

10 min - Special


Kristi Cooper visits Balanced Body™ headquarters in Sacramento, California where Balanced Body™ founder and CEO Ken Endelman shows her an original 1950s Pilates apparatus made and used by Joseph Pilates himself. Designed to look like a chaise lounge, this apparatus is actually both a ladder barrel and a reformer combination machine. Learn some of the history of the reformer apparatus from Ken Endelman as Kristi tries out a piece of equipment used by Joe himself.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Aug 07, 2013
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In this episode. Christy Cooper visits balanced body headquarters. We're founder and CEO. Ken Endelman shows her one of his oldest and most priced pieces of historic PyLadies equipment. Take a look. I am so excited. I'm shaking. I'm at balanced body with Ken and woman all the way up here in Sacramento and I just discovered that I'm sitting on an original piece of apparatus made by Jessica [inaudible] for William Herbert Hermann. Yes, 1950s ish. And I think Ken's going to actually let me use it, but I want you to show it to us first. First of all, all right. Where do we start? What is it? What is it? It's, it's a chaise lounge shows us.

No, but it's a barrel. It's a barrel. It's available. Would you like to try it? No, none of my work. I mean to look at this, it's, it's a piece of furniture. You always hear about how it was furniture, so, but I've never seen this. I mean it's obviously a barrel. Yup. The handles and there are pictures of and Claire on one that look exactly exactly like this man. Yeah. Although I've never seen anyone actually do barrel work on it. So this is the first person I've ever seen. Then yes, you are the first person I've seen dude on this machine.

Whoo. Do you think Joe worked on this? Huh? That's what I'm told. Um, this originally belonged to William Herman who was a voice coach. His clients were people like Roberta Peters and Lucille Ball. Couple of others. I can't remember right now. Lucille Ball's been on that and still abolishment on this machine. Um, the, I've been told by the people that I got it from who were waiting home as clients.

They bought it from him or bought it from his estate when he passed away, cause they used it at his, at his, his office. And then when they moved to Florida, they, they sold it to me. Um, but they told me that Joe used to come to their studio and show where you Herman his clients how to use this machine. And then William Herman encouraged his clients to go to Joe's Joe Studio to work out. So I asked the question specifically was, was, did Joe use the form? And the answer was an emphatic yes. I feel so. I haven't seen him. Does it feel good on your body? It feels fantastic on my body. I would like to do you and your family. You can.

You can leave this to me. Paul doesn't meet it. They also gave me a copy of a return to life as well. That's really, really nice. So I got a, if the original cover on it [inaudible] so it's, it's a mat. I can see. So it's actually like there's two main components. So as it is right now, it's a piece of furniture. Yes. And it can either be a, a couch or a chaise lounge. It can be a barrel. Yes. Yeah. Relax here. Relax. Can you figure picture, picture this in front of your eight inch TV 50 now, but I can't picture a Martini. It's kind of like a cool example. You know, mid century modern furniture. I'm seeing hinges over here.

Does that mean what I think it means? There is one in a Joe design, lots of things to do, lots of different things. And this is not only a barrel, but it's a reformer inside which actually grabbing anything. I would love to the move the barrel. Now what we did here is, this was originally theirs, you can't see it, but there's hinges on the backside. We unscrewed half the hinges so that the top would come all the way off instead of just opening up like a clam shell. And we did that because we didn't want anyone opening it up by mistake and breaking it off and ruining the frame.

So that's why we're going to lift it off rather than just kind of hinge it over. Are you sure this shouldn't be in a museum? You know, the Museum of balanced bodies, everything I read about Joe is he wants everybody to do Claudius and I think it would warm his heart to know that people in 2013 were doing plays on a reformer. I have blown his mind. I would love to warm Joe's heart right now. I don't know how I would have explained all this plot. Is that anytime internet stuff to him, but this part I can tell.

I can only hope. Okay, we're ready. So yeah, tip it and lift it. You're ready to rotate it? I am. Okay. Yeah, that's slower. Okay. And let's put it down. Wow. Okay. Oh, look at that. I see. Yeah. So the hinges and it would just hang here. It's not light. It's not heavy, but it's not light.

The thing is made out of solid maple. Yeah. The hinges could probably hold it as long as you just said whack it. [inaudible] but it surprises me that it's lasted this long and it's a pristine condition. So get this. Yeah, we'll see how it works. Of course. I want to see how it goes, but you know, it looks like I might know how you recognize some of the parts. I think I do. Yeah. But tell me, tell me all about it. Um, so the whole thing collapses.

And so the cool thing about the barrel part is that it hides the shoulders when you move the carriage back. So you don't have to take the carriage out. So this is a convertible machine. Anybody that thinks they invented a convertible machine, that that's a new idea. Joe Has Gotten beat by 60 years. And was this piece common? I'd never seen the, especially the mat with barrel part. Have you seen it elsewhere?

I've seen it in pictures. I've never, yeah, we're seeing it and I'm never seeing one in years. And I haven't seen any of these machines actually in use. This is the first time I actually saw one in a real machine. And that was, that was, that had been used and it was in service. Yeah. It's just, um, there's, there's a really classic picture of Joe after he showed me far more work with him. So he nixed to Clara. And Clara is making Google eyes at Joe and stuff like that. Yeah. And that's, there's a, there's this machine exactly the same except this one has more history on it. Wow. Okay. So, I mean, does this all, is this, and it's not exactly what you're using now, but, no, no, no, no. There's a few 10 o'clock technological advantages. This machine here, and this has super deluxe poutiness. Oh, nice.

You can't wait for optimal comfort. Tell that to my clients. You know what a more babying, um, the are kind of the same way. Patterns. Oh No, it's really my new, my new [inaudible] padding. So it has the adjustable headrest. It has the leather straps. Is this, when you talk about the patents that you found, is this what you were seeing?

This is almost actually the, what was originally patented was a, a much less sophisticated version than this one. This is, this is a actually more sophisticated a lot of ways. The one that we went out where the original patents were really tall. They used the acute use weights or springs. They didn't and they didn't have any adjustable foot bar and they had 'em and they had no shoulder rest. And people think politeness is new. Are the dimensions the same for what you are making in a studio or farmers?

They're surprisingly close. They're really, really, they're really, really close. You know, it's shorter. It's shorter, doesn't go back as far. And that would make sense because the human species has gotten longer over the years. Some of them, yes. Wow. Um, do you want to get on? I would love to get on it. Yeah. The belt buckles are kind of hard again, but I'm not, I'm not a princess.

Oh. Oh. I can't get it back. It's a little sticky. Yeah. There's only four wheels on it and in the industrial casters and there they don't roll that well. This is an honor. It's an honor. Oh, look at me, mom.

This is too cool. How many people can say that they've been on Joe's reformer? I hate to boast, but that was really special. Ken. Thank you for everything for the tour, for the experience. Really appreciate it.


Thank you for sharing this ! Special for sure :)
1 person likes this.
Very cool!! Thanks for sharing!
I want that!!! So beautiful and functional
I need one of those!!
Way to cool! Kristi, thank you so much for sharing with us!!
Great to get a view into the Pilates museum with you. Thanks!
That was amazing and inspirational!
That was amazing! Do Balanced Body offer this same combo design? It's awesome for those of us with minimal studio space!
HI Donna, I don't know of a replica that BB makes, but I agree it would be great if they did!
I love watching all the history stuff!! It gives so much depth xo
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