Nautilus originally used to be the name of a piece of exercise equipment invented by Arthur Jones, who was the founder of Nautilus Inc. and MedX, Inc. Now the name applies to all types of exercise equipment produced by Nautilus, Inc.
Jones (1926-2007) was a self-taught exercise physiology student. He got the Nautilus idea when he first picked up the barbell. He found it a cumbersome piece of exercise equipment, and began trying to duplicate the effectiveness of barbell weight lifting. So he began his quest for the ultimate in exercise equipment to address the drawbacks brought about by exercising with barbells. It was in the late 1940s.
Jones first developed his first exercise machine – the torso pullover – which focuses on the improvement of the abdominal muscles as well as what bodybuilders call “lats” (latissimus dorsi, which is the broad and flat muscle located in the middle and lower back, and in the back of the arm). He had been developing it for over twenty years, and releasing several prototypes along the way until he finally built the winning machine.
He chose the name, Nautilus because the cams of the machine are likened to the chambers of the mollusc, which has a logarithmic spiral shape. A cam is an irregularly-shaped wheel that is mounted on a cylinder, mostly rotating. Cams are a part of mechanical linkage, and they produce flexible or reciprocal motion to another connected or contacted part.
The cams are then wrapped around with chains that support a series of weights. These help the user of the machines control the resistance as he or she lifts the weights.
Jones patented the Nautilus machine and introduced it to the public in 1970 – first to a weight lifting convention in Los Angeles, California. He would hold demos on how the machine worked.
In 1975 Dr. Michael O’Shea opened his facility, Sports Training Institute in New York City, and offered only Nautilus equipment. He reported that much of his eventual clients were professional athletes such as Bille Jean King, Diana Nyad, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and others. It was only one of the reasons that contributed to the Nautilus’ success.
The success of the Nautilus machines gave Jones a massive fortune, earning hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from the sales of his machines. His wealth landed Jones on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest people.
He formed the Nautilus Inc. in 1986 which he later sold for $23 million. Jones was also the founder of MedX, Inc. whose line is manufacturing equipment to correct back and spinal conditions. He also sold MedX in 1996 and then lived in comfortable retirement – thanks to these machines that made him very wealthy.
There are a lot of reasons why Nautilus machines are so popular. One of those factors is that it’s safe to use, you are unlikely to get injured on a Nautilus, unlike barbells. The machines and the weights are adjustable according to the user’s body type, thus even women will not be intimidated by exercising on the Nautilus. A lot of body building buffs find working out on the Nautilus rewarding and also fun.
Thanks to Arthur Jones and his Nautilus fitness equipment – they ultimately changed the face of exercising, fitness and bodybuilding