From Mental Floss
Exercising on a treadmill can often feel like torture and that’s not a coincidence.
In 1818, an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt devised a machine called the “tread-wheel” to reform stubborn and idle convicts.
Prisoners would step on the 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, climbing it like a modern StairMaster. As the spokes turned, the gears were used to pump water or crush grain. Hence the eventual name treadmill. Read more…