This Vintage Invention Out of Battle Creek is…Interesting
Every single day it feels like I learn something new about SW Michigan. Today's lesson was....interesting to say the least.
This contraption is knows as the Battle Creek Roller. It was an invention that crawled out of the mind of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. The exact date of release is hard to track down but, according to the website Collectors Weekly, these machines were still being sold in department stores in the 70's. A quick Google search will show you what these things look like. But, lucky for me, I found a Youtube video demonstrating how this thing worked:
For something that was invented by a Kellogg, there's surprisingly little information on the Battle Creek Roller. However, this ad, apparently from a 1970's JCPenny's catalog, includes a model demonstrating how to use it. You could use the roller on:
- Your tummy
- Your arms
- Your legs
Again, since information is scare I'm unclear whether this invention was intended for weight loss or simply to 'massage' tense muscles.
In the Facebook group, Michigan History, someone named Marc DeGeorge shared a vintage ad for the Battle Creek Roller which sent me down this bizarre rabbit hole. While I don't have permission to share that ad in this article (you can see it here) I would like to share a few of the lines that stood out to me:
Effective for men AND women! Day or night, Roller is ready for pleasant, thorough massage of heaviest individuals. Serves as seat with Hassock Cover. Satisfaction guaranteed.
First of all, I feel like proper grammar was thrown out of the window for this ad. And, it serves as a seat? That better be a fluffy cushion you're throwing on top of those roller rods.
I've never been so happy to have progressed so far with something so meaningless.
This journey of learning about the Battle Creek Roller led me to many facts that were completely unknown to me about the Kellogg brothers. For example, did you know the Battle Creek Sanitarium was the inspiration for the 1994 movie "The Road to Wellville"? With Matthew Broderick, Anthony Hopkins and John Cusack among others, this movie definitely isn't for kids:
Aside from medical ideas that are still used today, a number of different inventions came from the minds of the Kellogg brothers. You can read more on Wikipedia.
I fully expect to keep being surprised by random inventions or random facts about Michigan. While I've only been here a year I'm positive that there are facts that even lifelong Michiganders don't know. See if I'm right with 15 Fun Facts About Michigan: