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Manhattan-era Fitness Gadgets

The more things change...
March 30, 2019
1939 Jack Armstrong pedometer.

1939 Jack Armstrong pedometer.


  • Stacy Baker
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Stay tuned for more tbt nuggets from the Bradbury Science Museum.

In March’s newsletter, we talked about the variety of artifacts that find their way to the Museum. Occasionally, items arrive undisclosed as part of a larger package and become treasures in their own right, depending on the trends of the day. A recent addition to our education collection was discovered by one of the Bradbury’s informal science educators, tucked away in a box of Manhattan-era radio equipment and radio-themed games. As it would turn out, this small, mysterious piece of machinery was the perfect entry for the Museum’s Throwback Thursday entry that week on Facebook. 

And what exactly was the small, mysterious piece of machinery? A pedometer! No, not a Virgin Pulse unit like so many Lab employees are wearing these days (go, Team Triad!). It was a 1939 Jack Armstrong pedometer in all its mechanical glory and with the original instructions. Given the Lab’s current, friendly competition with Battelle to “get those steps in,” we felt this lovely little piece of retro was meant for bigger things and promptly posted it on the Bradbury’s Facebook page. 

Jack Armstrong’s shiny gizmo may not carry great historical significance for the Lab or represent the Lab’s innovative, scientific achievements in any way, shape, or form, but it does speak to our community’s continued pursuit of improvement. It’s also a reminder of how very connected we remain to our Manhattan Project roots. 

Stay tuned for more Throwback Thursday nuggets from the Bradbury Science Museum.