Thursday, May 15, 2014

Exercise That Mouth!

Today's modern civilization seems to be consumed with the necessity of exercise.  You may think this is something new as we have found ways to spend our days with a minimum of movement, thanks to the advent of television and computers.  So we are encouraged to find exercise programs to make ourselves healthier and to stave off poor health.

This is not something new.  By the late 1800's  there were many folks looking for ways to achieve a healthier way to live.  New inventions came about in an effort to help us reach our goals.  Charles G. Purdy of Brooklyn, New York, was one such thinker.

In 1923 Purdy was issued a U.S. patent #1,466,559 for his Exercise Device.  He was concerned that the modern lifestyle led to a way of cooking that produced food that required little mastication resulting in tooth decay and underdeveloped jaws, all caused by a lack of proper exercise. 

His device consisted of a plate that fit in the mouth with a spring that could be attached to the wall.  The person would then turn his head in a series of movements that would create tension and stress in the mouth, exercising all oral organs and the head.  His contention was that this would result in stronger and healthier teeth, gums, and jaws.

Another way to try the object was using one with a spring between two plates.  This was to be used by two people pulling the spring between them, creating a "tug of war" action.  Now that's a Valentine's Day gift for a romantic couple if I ever heard of one, wouldn't you say.  "Hi, honey.  Let's exercise together."  One question, would you do this before or after eating dinner?

I could find no information as to the public reaction to his invention.  Did it ever go on the market?  I don't know.  Frankly, I would think there could be so much stress and tension on the teeth and gums that you would make them weaker and looser.  It could also be a downer if your lovely gift wound up pulling your darling's dentures out of the mouth.  Especially if you didn't know about the recipient wearing dentures.

Oh, well.  It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.  I wonder if Charles ever came up with another idea for an invention.


  1. They sound more like torture devices! It makes me think of when our dogs play tug of war. I wonder if humans were supposed to make growling sounds too.

    1. Good observation, Tracey. And I agree. It does sound like torture to me as well. Of course, a lot of exercise devices of various kinds also seem more like torture than fun. - Karen