William Staub, Treadmill Engineer, Dies at 96 Years Old

By now you have probably heard that the creator of the modern home treadmill died on Thursday of last week. Now is a great time to reflect on how his work has changed so much about modern exercise as we know it today. When William Staub learned that some medical offices were using treadmill-like devices, he was very intrigued. At the time, in the 1960’s, these machines were only available to use when you visited the doctor. Staub saw past this predicament and decided that the public needed easy access to these machines so that they could be taken advantage of on a daily basis. Thus the idea of the home treadmill was born.

As a mechanical engineer, Staub had no problem working out the kinks, and creating a low cost machine available to almost anyone. These first treadmills were created under his new brand, called Pacemaster. Unfortunately the Pacemaster brand folded in 2010. While Pacemaster may not be considered one of the best treadmills, they had a good run, and without the foundation that it set for the fitness industry, some of the amazing brands that we have around today just wouldn’t be the same.

Imagine a world without treadmills. What would everyone use for cardio at the gym? I suppose you could say that they would use ellipticals, but the elliptical was invented later and has it’s roots buried in the treadmill. Obviously fitness as we know it would be quite different. Without treadmills, the occurrence of running would take a nose-dive every time the weather got cold or wet. I’d wager that as a nation, the United States would have even more fitness problems and obesity in America would be higher than ever. I think that whether or not you use a treadmill, we all owe a big thank you to William Staub for giving us the power to run indoors. His invention is sure to remain popular for years to come!

William Staub, center, with his 2 sons in 1988

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