Original Pilates Apparatus Collections | Pilates History Research

Collectively, Sean Gallagher and Elaine Ewing have the largest collection of original pilates apparatus and vintage pilates apparatus in the world. Combined, their collections span decades of Joseph Pilates’ work, inventions, designs, dimensions, and details. This rare and fascinating combination of collections is also the only set of apparatus that is openly available for students and teachers to visit by appointment and use for themselves.

From all areas of the earth, pilates enthusiasts have traveled to visit these collections in person. For the first time, we have created the experience of these special apparatus in a digital format so that those who cannot yet travel to visit the Pilates Source® locations (The Pilates Museum™ and Rhinebeck Pilates™) in person can still learn more about Joe Pilates and his original pilates equipment.

Additionally, a few more pieces of original pilates equipment are owned by other teachers, which are also featured on this page.

All Photos in this collection are copyrighted and cannot be used without expressed written permission (except the photo from the article about Romana).

(Click each image to enlarge)

Over the past 5 years, we have methodically restored the original pilates equipment in Sean Gallagher’s collection, piece by piece. The following videos document the process, the results, and honor the many teachers who have joined us from far and wide in this labor of love to keep Joe Pilates’ archival equipment functional and accessible to all visitors:

Restoration of the Original Pilates Archival Clawfoot Reformer

Restoration of the Original Pilates Archival Reformer Box

Restoration of the Original Pilates Archival Wooden Cadillac

Restoration of the Original Pilates Archival Exercise Chair

Restoration of the Original Pilates Archival Electric Chair

Elaine Ewing’s Original Pilates Equipment Collection

The following items in Elaine’s collection (Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Baby Chair, Electric Chair, Push Up Devices, and Spine Corrector) have the following chain of ownership:

The Original Pilates Studio —> Wee Tai Hom —> Drago’s Gym —> True Pilates —-> Elaine Ewing

Additional pieces are specified below.

This equipment can be viewed in person, by appointment, at Rhinebeck Pilates™ in Rhinebeck, NY.

The Original Pilates Archival 2×4

The longer 2×4 shown here is original to the archival Pilates Electric Chair within my collection. One way we know this is due to the matching upholstery. The other 2×4 shown here is either an original or a vintage piece, I am not yet certain.
Images first shared on 11/26/23.

Elaine Ewing Original Pilates Archival 2x4 Electric Chair Equipment

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Elaine Ewing Original Pilates Archival 2x4 Electric Chair Equipment

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Elaine Ewing Original Pilates Archival 2x4 Equipment

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

An Original 1960’s Cadillac

This Cadillac can be seen in photos taken inside Joseph Pilates studio in the 1960s. The Pilates SourceR estimates the date range that Joe switched from wooden equipment to metal to be somewhere between 1958-1961. Hopefully one day we will learn more about this pivotal moment in pilates history.
Image first shared on 2/14/23.

1960's Cadillac © 2022 Elaine Ewing

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

An Original Baby Arm Chair

An Original Wunda Chair from Joe Pilates’ Original Studio.
Image first shared on 2/14/23.

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Wunda Chair

An Original Wunda Chair from Joe Pilates’ Original Studio.
Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Wunda Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Wunda Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Ladder Barrel

An Original Ladder Barrel from Joe Pilates’ Original Studio.
Image first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Ladder Barrel

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Joe Pilates’ Original Push Up Devices

Image first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Push-Up Device © 2022 Elaine Ewing

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

An Original Electric Chair from Joe Pilates’ Original Studio

This is one of the oldest pieces in Elaine’s collection and one that has seen the most use, as can be seen in the close ups of the spring hooks at the back of the chair.

In the details, one can see remnants of silver paint, which Joe commonly used on his original wooden equipment. More of this can be seen in Sean Gallagher’s collection as well.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Electric Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Electric Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Electric Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Electric Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Electric Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

An Original Spine Corrector from Joe Pilates’ Original Studio

This is also one of the older pieces in Elaine’s collection. The inside of the Spine Corrector resembles the way a beer barrel would be made, possibly influencing the story of how Joe Pilates created the barrel by cutting a beer barrel in half.
Through Pilates Source® research, we discovered a more likely way that Joe created the first barrels. To learn more, see Apparatus History.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Spine Corrector

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Spine Corrector

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

An Original Folding Mat with Joe Pilates’ Plaque

This original folding mat belonged to one of Joseph Pilates clients. It has an original plaque inside next to a neat pouch for the handles.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Folding Mat with Plaques

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Folding Mat with Plaques

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Original Folding Mat with Plaques

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Estate Sale Collection from the Early 1950’s

This special collection of original pilates equipment was discovered in an estate sale of a home that was passed down through one family for three generations. The equipment had belonged to a student of Joseph Pilates from the late 1940s-early 50s. 

Many aspects of this original equipment are historically unique. Each of these are detailed in each section about the equipment.

Two Original Metal Magic Circles

These Magic Circles are some of the rarest original pilates apparatus to still exist today. Joseph Pilates’ original design and invention, these circles are made entirely of metal with red rubber on the handles. One circle is 2 bands, the other is 4 bands- proving that Joe Pilates did create magic circles of differing tensions. Images first shared 7/4/2024.

Original pilates equipment magic circle vintage image
Original pilates equipment magic circles
Original pilates equipment magic circles with Sean Gallagher and Elaine Ewing
Original pilates equipment magic circle
Original pilates equipment magic circle

Bednasium

This complete Bednasium includes all original heavy and light leg springs, leg spring foot loops, arms springs with handles, a roll back bar, a Neck Stretcher with original loop, and an ankle loop.

Most rare of all is the original plaque on the Bednasium, stating its origin: Joseph Pilates and The Miracle Bed & Chair Co, which was located in the Bronx, NY.

Images first shared 7/4/2024.

Original pilates equipment bednasium
Original pilates equipment bednasium
Original pilates equipment bednasium
Original pilates equipment bednasium springs, loops, handles, etc.
Original pilates equipment bednasium plaque

An Original, Adjustable Junior Reformer

This exquisite example of an original Junior Reformer is unique in many exciting ways. It comes with all original springs and, incredibly, an original footbar cover that was previously unknown about ever having existed on a Junior Reformer.

Incredibly, this collection actually came with an additional footbar and an additional shoulder block bar- that also has a cover. 

Most exciting is truly brand new discovery that this reformer was adjustable at the back end for height. With the wooden piece across the reformer set in, the reformer measures 80 inches, like other original Junior Reformers and like the Universal Reformer. But when the wooden piece is unscrewed and moved back to the end of the reformer, it measures at 86 inches!!

Images first shared 7/4/2024.

Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer
Original pilates, 1950's Adjustable Junior Reformer

Elaine Ewing’s Original Carola Trier Apparatus Collection

In 2023, I was fortunate to acquire a collection of original apparatus from Carola Trier’s original studio that was once at 200 West 58th Street in NYC. Learn more about Carola Trier and her original studio here.

Carola Trier’s Reformer Extension Straps

This set of original extension straps come from one of Carola’s original reformers and are obviously well used. The hardware is in perfect condition, although its very interesting to notice that the D rings on each strap are different, therefore the length of the straps would have been different while in use.

Images first shared on 3/8/24.

Carola Trier’s Reformer Extension Straps

Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector

Presenting: Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector with Hinged & Attached Mat

Words cannot express my excitement to present this incredible pilates artifact! Not only is this Carola Trier’s original Spine Corrector, but it is also the only original spine corrector currently known to have its hinged mat still attached and fully functional. 

A number of details show that this spine corrector came directly from Joseph Pilates to Carola Trier. Stay tuned for posts about those details! 

When this spine corrector arrived at my studio, the hinged mat was actually sealed closed with staples and added upholstery underneath the barrel. 

I carefully pulled out each staple and was able to unhinge the mat- to reveal pristine wooden slats inside the barrel!! Due to what was likely many years of being closed up, the insides of the barrel are in immaculate condition. 

The outer, wooden sides of the barrel are in disrepair due to use and time. This spring, the barrel will undergo a restoration so that the splintered edges don’t become even more damaged.

Images first shared on 3/8/24.

Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector
Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector
Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector
Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector Hinge
Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector
Carola Trier’s Original Spine Corrector in Studio

Carola Trier’s Original Floor Platform

Looking through photos of Carola Trier’s studio over the years, this unique and intriguing piece has always caught my eye.

A platform sat at the end of the Cadillac on the floor, and in one instance shown in these photos, was also used against the wall for standing springs.

These photos show some of the exercises that were done with the platform at the end of the Cadillac, both seated and standing using the Push Through Bar.

Archival photos show the platform in what appears to be a few different design stages, as if it was photographed over time and we can see the changes made to it over time. We see it as unpainted wood, painted wood, and upholstered. The final version of this platform was fully upholstered in Carola’s signature, vibrant, textured blue turquoise vinyl.

The platform appears to act as a structure for posture and alignment.

My guess is that this platform was an invention of Carola Trier’s, and not Joe Pilates’ since we have never seen it used in his studio. 

Through my restoration process of the original Floor Platform, I discovered a couple ingenious design elements of this unique, original piece. These are details that I had no idea about simply by seeing this piece in vintage photos. Truly one of the most incredible aspects of physically experiencing archival equipment is the depth of learning by experiencing it in person. Isn’t that just like pilates itself?! It never ceases to amaze me! 

The specific dimensions seem purposeful as well, as expected. From what I’ve learned after talking with people who knew Carola, she was very specific. This is a perfect example of that- she created a unit for what she wanted to achieve instead of using something else from around the studio

Images first shared on 3/8/24.

Carola Trier’s Original Floor Platform

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Floor Platform

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Floor Platform
Carola Trier’s Original Floor Platform

Carola Trier’s Original Baby Chair

Complete with original handles and springs from Carola Trier’s studio, this original Baby Arm Chair also has hooks for each handle that are still in place and functional.

At some point, this chair was reupholstered and much of the original silver paint on it was covered by the same bright turquoise that adorned Carola’s other apparatus throughout the studio.

Based on our combined original pilates apparatus collections and our ongoing in-depth pilates history research, we theorize that this piece most likely came from Joseph Pilates to Carola’s studio. Stay tuned for more about that in the near future!

The most fantastic element of this chair is that it’s a solid piece- the back does not move.  Like Joe’s original chair in the film posted yesterday from Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®, this chair provides a sturdy back piece on a particular, stable angle that Joe Pilates originally intended for its use. The results are mind blowing.

Images first shared on 2/1/24.

Carola Trier’s Original Baby Chair

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Baby Chair

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Baby Chair and High Chair

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Baby Chair in studio

Carola Trier’s Original Wooden High Chair with Bike Handles

With the original details all still intact- including the bike handles on each end of the pedal and the original springs in perfect condition- this vintage piece is a show stopper and feels incredible! 

Included with this chair is also the original bolster that could be used with it. Its just amazing to know that these things still exist and have stayed together after all these years. 

When I first got this chair, the top metal headpiece was tarnished. I learned that ketchup was a great for removing tarnish from copper so I gave it a try, and the results were incredible!

Only two photos of this chair inside Carola Trier’s studio exist that I know of. It would be amazing to find more someday.

Carola Trier’s Original Wooden High Chair with Bike Handles with Bolster

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Elaine Ewing Pilates Vintage Equipment Collection- Large Barrel

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Wooden High Chair with Bike Handles in Original Studio
Carola Trier’s Original Wooden High Chair with Bike Handles

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Wooden High Chair with Bike Handles

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Wooden High Chair with Bike Handles in Original Studio

Carola Trier’s Original Benchmat with White Bike Handles

Clearly, this will be a work in progress. I don’t know how it became ripped (possibly just repetitive articulation in that same place over time) and I’m not sure if this is the original upholstery (more about that later). 

When I got it it was actually covered with new teal colored Naugahyde. Naturally, I couldn’t leave it like that and just had to see what it looked like underneath! Now, let the restoration project begin!

I’m looking forward to having this reupholstered this spring in the style authentic to the original. 

Stay tuned for much more about the restoration of this fantastic benchmat- including some original details and archival elements that we had previously only seen in photos and films and not yet in real life. 

There are also fascinating differences between this original benchmat and those in Sean Gallagher’s collection of original equipment- therefore we now have four different, actual physical examples of the Benchmat.

And yes it does have the original silver painted legs! 

As I continue with the restoration process I’ll post updates and share more about these amazing details.

Carola Trier’s Original Benchmat with White Bike Handles

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Benchmat with White Bike Handles

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Benchmat with White Bike Handles

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Benchmat with White Bike Handles in Studio
Carola Trier’s Original Benchmat with White Bike Handles in Studio

Introducing What Remains of Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer

I could not possibly be more excited to present what remains of Carola Trier’s Idealizer, and….. for the first time in Pilates Source® history, to share this original Idealizer with the original bike seat still attached!!

Incredibly, the hardware, levers, and bicycle seat are still intact on this archival treasure. Sadly, there are a couple vital pieces missing from the apparatus. However… I am in the process of restoring this outrageously cool piece so stay tuned for updates throughout the process!

One of my pilates history research dreams has been to understand how exactly Joe attached the bike seat to the pole. Never in a million years did I think I would actually own this for myself and be able to study and understand it with Sean so that we can continue to share this information with those who appreciate history and our work through webinars and workshops!

Thanks to a letter that Carola kept from Carola Pilates dated 5/11/52, we know that this piece is directly from Joe Pilates himself. Simply amazing!

 To read the article discovered by Cathy Strack, Sean Gallagher, and I when we learned of the term, Idealizer, click here.

 The first step towards restoration: The Wooden Base

This gorgeous wooden base was crafted according to the original- including the wooden edge under the front that makes all a the difference. I chose to have it stained in a dark brown so it would be most like what Carola originally had.

The second step towards restoration:  replacing the missing T-bar and inner pole

I was so fortunate to find a local artisan who could replicate the missing T-bar that is part of the inner-most pole of the adjustable Ped-o-Pul/Idealizer.  Thanks to his work, the restoration of Carola Trier’s original Idealizer is now complete and it stands once again!

 
Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer and Elaine Ewing

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer Seat

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Idealizer replaced T-bar and inner pole

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Idealizer replaced T-bar and inner pole

© 2024 Elaine Ewing

Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer Pilates Archive Photo
Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer Postcard
Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer Pilates Archive Photo
Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer Pilates Archive Photo
Carola Trier’s Original Pilates Idealizer Pilates History Archive Photo

Elaine Ewing’s Vintage Pilates Equipment Collection

Vintage Scale

In 2020, Sean Gallagher was working on the restoration of Joe Pilates’ original scale (shown in these archival photos) and found an identical scale that he could use for a particular part he needed for Joe’s scale. Once he had the part he needed, he was kind enough to gift me this scale! Wow! This scale is the same kind that Joe himself once had inside his NYC studio. 

(Stay tuned for final restoration of Joe’s scale, which is part of Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives® and which will be on display inside Sean’s pilates museum/studio.)

The best part is, it still works!

Images first shared on 2/1/24. 

Vintage Scale from Elaine Ewing's Vintage Pilates Equipment Collection
Elaine Malbin with scale - Pilates History Archive
Vintage Scale from Elaine Ewing's Vintage Pilates Equipment Collection in the studio
Joe Pilates' original scale in his studio.

Vintage Gratz Guillotine from Drago’s Gym

This special Guillotine is the 3rd oldest Guillotine known to exist today, originally from Drago’s Gym. A unique feature to this Guillotine is the rotating bar at the top. Guillotines today are made with a fixed bar.

Images first shared on 11/26/23.

Vintage Pilates Equipment- Guillotine from Dargo's Gym

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Large Barrel

This barrel was previously used at Drago’s Gym/True Pilates East, although I do not believe it is an original barrel based on the structure of the inside, which is a smooth wood and not made of slat’s like Joe’s original barrels were. I am currently unable to estimate the date of this barrel.

Images first shared on 11/26/23.

Elaine Ewing Pilates Vintage Equipment Collection- Large Barrel

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Elaine Ewing Pilates Vintage Equipment Collection- Large Barrel

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

A Vintage Wunda Chair (possibly from the 1970’s)

This vintage Wunda Chair was originally used in a NYC studio called Body Art. As the story goes, Wee Tai Hom (who at the time was the current owner of the original Pilates Studio), was forced to close the studio and scatter apparatus to various other locations in NYC, one of them being a gym called Body Art. There, Romana Kryzanowska and other teachers taught pilates for a few years. Elaine purchased this chair from one of those teachers.

Originally, this chair had 2 sets of springs on each side and multiple options for spring settings, as can be seen in the detailed photos. The previous owner had Basil refurbish the chair so that it had one spring on each side. It was also originally painted royal blue. The new colors were selected by the previous owner.

It is still unknown as to who made this chair originally (Joe? Gratz? Someone else?) and who designed it to have 2 sets of springs and why. Hopefully some day we will learn more.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Vintage Wunda Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Wunda Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Wunda Chair

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

A Vintage Gratz Folding Reformer

This rare folding reformer was made by Gratz during a brief period of time during the early 2000’s, we believe.
Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Vintage Gratz Folding Reformer

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Gratz Folding Reformer

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Gratz Folding Reformer

© 2022 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Magic Circle from the 1970s

I’m so excited to present the latest piece in my growing collection of vintage pilates apparatus- a Magic Circle from the early 1970s, which is the oldest Magic Circle I know of that exists today. 

This Magic Circle came my way through Susan Bender, a student of Romana Kryzanowska when she taught at West 56th street, and continued to train with her when she moved to Drago’s Gym later at 57th Street. Susan bought this circle in the early 70s at the 56th Street studio. 

According to receipts from the pilates studio business that are in Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®, The Pilates Studio sold Magic Circles that were made by Gratz throughout the 1970s.

In 1982, The Pilates Studio Corp (which consisted of John Steel, Romana Kryzanowska, and other investors) filed the trademark for “Magic Circle.” The trademark number was 385918. Swipe to see the trademark listing. 

After this, Gratz continued to make Magic Circles and began stamping them with the trademark number. Swipe to see one of these stamped 1980s Magic Circles that belongs to Sean Gallagher.

Images first shared on 11/7/23.

Vintage Pilates Equipment "Magic Circle" from the 1970s.

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Pilates Equipment "Magic Circle" from the 1970s.

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Pilates Equipment "Magic Circle" from the 1970s.

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Sean Gallagher and Elaine Ewing’s Wunda Chair Collective

Together, Sean and Elaine’s Wunda Chairs span 70 years of apparatus history. In decade order:

1950’s (Sean Gallagher): this original Wunda Chair came with an original plaque from Joe Pilates and has a number of signature elements from Joe’s designs, including door hinges on the pedal and oversized hooks for the springs.

1960’s (Elaine Ewing): this original Wunda Chair is familiar to many from its time at Wee Tai Hom’s studio and at Drago’s Gym/True Pilates.

1970’s (Elaine Ewing): this chair is from BodyArt in NYC and it is currently unknown if it was from Joe Pilates or someone who made it later.

1980’s: we currently do not have a Wunda Chair from the 1980’s. If anyone knows of one, please let us know!

1990’s (Sean Gallagher): Sean made this chair according to Joe’s blueprints for the Wunda Chair, which are part of Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®.

2000’s (Elaine Ewing): this chair was purchased from Gratz Pilates in 2003 and is used at Rhinebeck Pilates.

2020’s (Elaine Ewing): this chair was purchased from Pilates Designs and is known as their “Archival Wunda Chair.”

Original and Vintage Pilates Wunda Chair Collection throughout the Decades

Image first shared 2/14/23. © 2022 Elaine Ewing

Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives® Original Pilates Equipment Collection

Sean Gallagher’s collections originally came with his purchase of the original Pilates studio business and then was vastly supplemented by the purchase of Joe and Clara Pilates’ Berkshire property, which he is the current owner of. When he first purchased the property, the buildings and apparatus inside them were in disrepair and damaged due to water damage and decades of neglect by previous owners. Today, the studio has been restored and the apparatus has been carefully restored or is in the process of restoration. Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Joe’s Original Berkshires Studio when Sean Gallagher purchased it. © 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

The chain of ownership of this equipment is as follows: Joseph Pilates —> Sean Gallagher. This equipment is believed to date back to the 1940s approximately.

This equipment is kept in Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Museum in Becket, MA. To view this equipment in person, please contact Sean Gallagher or join us at Pilates at The Pillow®.

Please note, this is a selection of some of Sean’s collection. Stay tuned as we continue to add more to this digital archive. Thank you, Sean, for your generosity in providing the community with digital access to your apparatus collection. Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Related Topics: Sean Gallagher.

Original Bench Mat from Atlas Athletic

This is the only known example of an original Bench Mat from the 1940’s sold through Atlas Athletic for Joseph Pilates.

Image first shared on 2/14/23.

Related Topics: Atlas Athletic

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original Wooden Cadillac, Claw Foot Reformer, Airplane Board, and Push Through Bar Pillow

This original wooden Cadillac is the only known remaining Cadillac from Joseph Pilates that is made of wood and painted silver. Through the work of Sean Gallagher and volunteers, this piece has been carefully restored.

The wooden claw foot reformer shown in the photos is next on the restoration list and a very rare item to see in person today. It comes complete with shark fin shoulder blocks, silver painted trim, and original plaques, yes there is more than one!

The Airplane Board shown is the only original Airplane Board known to exist today and is painted in Joe Pilates’ signature silver color.

The Push Through Bar Pillow is an extremely rare piece that is also the only original one known to exist today.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Equipment Collection

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Equipment Collection

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original Small Barrel

This original small barrel was the one replicated by Sean Gallagher and Stamina in the 1990’s. For more about the history of the Small Barrel, see Apparatus History.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Small Barrel

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Small Barrel

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original High Chair

This is the only chair of this style known to exist today. During the restoration, the word “JOE” was discovered on the back written in pencil. This incredible find was preserved.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original High Chair

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original High Chair

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original Massage Table/Treatment Table

This rare item was known as the Massage Table or Treatment Table. This is similar to the one sold through Atlas Athletic for Joe Pilates. Due to water damage prior to Sean’s ownership, the upholstery on this piece has been restored. For more, see Atlas Athletic.

Image first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Massage Table/Treatment Table

The Iron Shoes and Iron Shoe Inserts

This incredible sun design was put on the main house of Sean’s Becket property by the owners after Joe died. The design is made from Iron Shoe inserts that Joe put inside slippers and iron shoes for his students to do matwork. This special design remains and has since become the logo for The Pilates Source®. Additionally, Sean has the original Iron Shoes themselves in his collection.

Image first shared on 2/14/23.

Iron Shoes

Original Furniture and Portion of Joe Pilates’ Library

Upon purchase of the Becket property, Sean acquired many pieces of original furniture that belonged to Joe and Clara, some of which can be traced back to their NYC Pilates Studio. Other pieces (not shown) look to have been handmade. Shown in this photo is a desk that seems to have been used by Joe, based on evidence of cigar burns along the edge and writing on the desk surface.

A selection of Joe’s books is commonly on display during Pilates at The Pillow®, as shown in the photo.

A fantastic example of furniture that can be traced to the NYC studio are the wire chairs shown. These chairs were used in the changing room in NYC.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

 

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives

Book Collection from Joe Pilates’ library

Additionally, Sean has preserved an incredible collection of books from Joe Pilates’ library, most have either the Pilates Studio stamp or have two different name plates in front with Joe’s name on them. How the books were found and how they are housed in the museum today.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

 

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Pilates Studio Sign-In Books

One of the many Original Pilates Studio Sign-In Books having client signatures from the 1930’s through the 1980’s will be part of the Pilates museum’s permanent collections of historical documents. Image first shared on 2/14/23.

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Baby Chair with no Springs and other Chairs

Within Sean’s collection are a variety of unique chairs such as these.
Image first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Baby Chair with No Springs and Other Chairs

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original Electric Chair

This fantastic Electric Chair has been fully restored and is prominently on display in Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Museum.
Image first shared on 2/14/23.

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives

Original Skis from Joe and Clara Pilates

Joe and Clara Pilates were avid skiers. In Sean Gallagher’s collection, he has sets of their original ski poles and skis.
Images first shared on 2/14/23.

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original Bench Mat

This original Bench Mat was owned by Paul and Beverley Allen and were recently donated to The Pilates Source®. It is another great example of wooden equipment painted silver. This Bench Mat is believed to date back to the late 1950s-1960s. Seasonally, it is displayed in Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Museum (Spring-Summer-early fall) and Rhinebeck Pilates (late fall-winter-early spring).

The Pilates Source® is working hard to continue to add pilates apparatus history to the museum archives.
Images first shared on 2/14/23.

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

An Original Junior Reformer

This is one of two original Junior Reformers in Sean Gallagher’s collection. This is a later model which was donated to The Pilates Source®. It is another great example of wooden equipment painted silver. This Bench Mat is believed to date back to the late 1950s-1960s. Seasonally, it is displayed in Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Museum (Spring-Summer-early fall) and Rhinebeck Pilates (late fall-winter-early spring).

Sean’s other original Junior Reformer (not shown) dates back to the 1940’s and was produced by Atlas Athletic for Joe. This reformer is currently the oldest known Junior Reformer to exist at this time. Both Junior Reformers are the only known, original Junior Reformers to exist today.

The Pilates Source® is working hard to continue to add pilates apparatus history to the museum archives.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Junior Reformer

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Junior Reformer

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Junior Reformer

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

This archival chair found in Joe’s original Berkshire studio is similar to the Arm Chair (Baby Chair). This chair does not have any springs but it does have a slight hinge back and forth to the chair back.

Joe’s original Berkshire studio is similar to the Arm Chair (Baby Chair)

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe’s original Berkshire studio is similar to the Arm Chair (Baby Chair)

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe’s original Berkshire studio is similar to the Arm Chair (Baby Chair)

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

This is the only known, original Foot Corrector to exist today. The words, “Pilates Corrector” are on it and it is a curious color red. Fascinating!

Pilates Original Foot Corrector

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe’s original Berkshire studio is similar to the Arm Chair (Baby Chair)

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

The oldest known original Junior Reformer to exist today, and currently the only known Junior Reformer produced by Atlas Athletic Equipment Company.  One difference between this reformer and the other archival Junior Reformer in our collection and featured on this page, is that this reformer was foldable while the other junior reformer was not.

The oldest known original Junior Reformer

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

The oldest known original Junior Reformer

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

This original rack for weights can be seen in many archival pilates photos from inside Joseph Pilates studio. Incredibly, it still exists today within Sean Gallagher’s collection. We can see that Joe painted it his signature color silver.

Additionally, we can see original weights owned and used by Joe Pilates, as well as the wooden dowels some of them were on which were also painted silver.

Joe Pilates original rack for weights

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe Pilates original rack for weights

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe Pilates original rack for weights

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe Pilates original rack for weights

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe Pilates original rack for weights

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Joe Pilates original rack for weights

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

A unique O ring that Sean found at Joe’s Berkshire studio.

Unique O ring

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Unique O ring

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Floor Reformer

This photo shows Carola Trier on a floor reformer in Joe’s sunbathing garden in the Berkshires. Incredibly, the Long Box shown in the background appears to be the same long box that still exists today within Sean’s collection of original equipment. He first discovered this box amongst Joe’s original apparatus that was still inside his Berkshires studio. Images first shared 8/24/23.

Carola Trier on a floor reformer in Joe’s sunbathing garden in the Berkshires.

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Long Box from Sean’s collection of original pilates. equipment

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Long Box from Sean’s collection of original pilates. equipment

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Original Pilates Bednasiums

Original to the Pilates’ Berkshires Property, Sean Gallagher owns 4 Bednasiums that Joe and Clara Pilates used personally, as well as had in their guest house for visitors to use. These are the only original Bednasiums to exist today that we know of, in the world. Images first shared 8/24/23.

Bednasium Original to the Pilates’ Berkshires Property

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Bednasium Original to the Pilates’ Berkshires Property

© 2023 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives®

Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives® Vintage Pilates Equipment Collection

Vintage Gratz Magic Circle

This rare magic circle was manufactured by Gratz in the 1980s and part of Sean’s collection. Image first shared on 2/14/23.

 

Vintage Gratz Magic Circle

2nd Oldest Gratz Guillotine Known to Exist Today

This vintage Guillotine first stood at The Pilates Studio at 2121 Broadway beginning in the mid-1990s. Today, it is inside the Pilates Museum/Studio along with the rest of Sean’s vintage Gratz collection. (More photos of this Guillotine to come)

Images first shared on 11/26/23.

Vintage Pilates Equipment- Second Oldest Gratz Guillotine

© 2023 Elaine Ewing

Vintage Floor Cadillac

This incredible, low Cadillac is believed to date back to the 1970s and is believed to have been manufactured by Gratz. During this time, Romana Kryzanowska moved the original pilates studio to a new location with lower ceilings. In order to have a Cadillac, she needs one to sit low to the floor. Romana can be seen teaching on this low Cadillac in a number of vintage pilates articles, one example is shown here.

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives

© 2022 Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives

Other Original Pilates Equipment

Vintage 1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus 

Originally purchased for and still found at S.U.N.Y. Purchase, in Purchase, NY

A collection of vintage Gratz pilates apparatus, originally ordered and manufactured in 1975, still exists today at SUNY Purchase. After so many decades, it is still in use at the same college it was originally intended for. 

Incredibly, the original receipts and price lists for the equipment are still intact and were stapled together, revealing deep insights into pilates apparatus history. The broad depth of Sean Gallagher’s Pilates Archives® never ceases to amaze!

The price list contains the items as follows: App (“Apparatus”, meaning the reformer), Tower (also known as the Guillotine), Cadillac, Electric Chair, Large Barrel, Small Barrel. If only these prices were still in effect today! 

Interestingly, an additional receipt was included in this collection of vintage Gratz receipts- for a Ped-o-Pul dated 1978. 

Thanks to Sean Gallagher’s fantastic research into the archives, this paperwork has also showed us that the Guillotine at SUNY Purchase seems to be the oldest Guillotine known to exist today. Previously, we had thought that Sean’s Guillotine in the Pilates Museum from the early 1990s and my Guillotine from Drago’s Gym were the two oldest Guillotines. Now we know that there is one even older. Incredible!! 

History tells its best story through primary source documents such as these. Thank you, Sean, for continuously being the Pilates Source®, for accuracy and historical data, and for preserving rare items like this paperwork that is almost 50 years old! Because of Sean’s conservation, this information can be freely shared and accessible through the Pilates Museum. Just amazing!!

Images first shared on 11/13/23.

1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY
1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY
1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY
1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY Equipment List
1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY Equipment List
1975 Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY Receipt
1978 Receipt for Ped-O-Pul Gratz Pilates Apparatus at SUNY Purchase NY

Original Small Barrel

This original small barrel is owned by Rachel Romdhane at Miami Beach Pilates. It is similar in design to the one owned by Sean Gallagher.
Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Small Barrel

© 2023 Rachel Romdhane

Original Small Barrel

© 2023 Rachel Romdhane

Original Small Barrel

© 2023 Rachel Romdhane

An Original Folding Mat

This original folding mat belongs to Cathy Strack and was given to her by the daughter of one of Joe’s former clients. There are a few interesting differences between Cathy’s mat and Elaine’s mat, and the most notable is the handles. Elaine’s mat has two separate wooden handles while Cathy’s mat has one long metal bar. Interesting!

Also curious is the cover around the mat itself. Hopefully we will find out more about this someday.

All Photos in this collection are copyrighted and cannot be used without expressed written permission (except the photo from the article about Romana).

Images first shared on 2/14/23.

Original Folding Mat

© 2023 Cathy Strack

Original Folding Mat

© 2023 Rachel Romdhane

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