Joseph Pilates, the founder of the Pilates we do today at Jeany Volk’s Yoga and Pilates studio, was a German. In 1912, he was in England working as a self-defense instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard. When World War I broke out in 1914, he was interned as an “enemy alien” along with many other Germans in England. In the internment camp he worked as a nurse, which gave him the chance to experiment. He took the springs from hospital beds and attached them to the bed posts. Using those springs, his patients could exercise against resistance and could tone their muscles even before being allowed out of bed.
The first of what we call Pilates “reformers” were these hospital beds with springs. Today, of course, reformers are considerably more sophisticated. Jeany has several of different types.