Written by Andrea Maida
It’s been said that Joe’s Cadillac apparatus received its name from a mid-century General Motors’ Cadillac advertisement which declared the car to be “the best of its kind.”
Would vintage Cadillac adverts help me to locate the specific ad?
Could this story be true?
Well, the roots of the Cadillac name may need to be relegated to the category of “more myths about Joe Pilates and his apparatus.”
Oh, but vintage Cadillac ads would please Joe Pilates GREATLY. They kinda sound like him.
The Cadillac ads of the 40s and 50s share the same emphatic tone we find in JP’s manifesto, Return to Life.
Imagine Joe vehemently declaring the following about his Cadillac apparatus:
(See? Universal - a good Joe Pilates word.)
(so Game of Thrones…)
(Mine is built like a Mack truck, yo.)
(How true, how true…)
(They really like their exclamation points…)
(I know, right??)
(Oh gosh yes!!! That’s when I need it the most.)
The idea of the story rings true even if the precise slogan is not “the best of its kind.”
Clearly, General Motors and Joe Pilates were thrilled with their creations.
Years ago I worked in a fully-equipped Gratz studio with a vintage Gratz Cadillac built by Donald Gratz.
It featured a unique safety chain and the studio owner had further equipped it with numerous spring choices.
We had extra leg springs and arm springs, baby arm chair springs and springs from other manufacturers perhaps as well.
We had a spring for each and every scenario one might encounter with a client.
Truthfully at the time I loved having such a choice. It seemed ideal.
Five years later I ordered my Gratz Cadillac.
My one concern was that my new Cadillac wouldn’t include all those extra springs I had come to rely on and utilize.
How would that be?
Would the springs be “too heavy” for some of my clients?
I really wasn’t sure.
My own Cadillac…
Nothing says commitment quite like assembling a Cadillac in your house.
(But it will aid to my happiness!)
Finally the day arrived to try out my new springs Cadillac.
Leg Springs and Arm Springs.
Oh and the Roll Back bar springs - there’s a boon - some “extra springs” I hadn’t counted on.
But that’s it.
Lying on the Cadillac I learned a valuable lesson about our beloved Pilates method:
The springs are sufficient to coax the body into a full body workout. I need my whole body to work the springs properly.
This is no arm exercise!
We live in an era with choices of ridiculous proportion.
Enter the Gratz Cadillac: there are choices. Arm Springs? or Leg Springs? Even a few choices for where to place them - low or high - or for standing exercises.
And that’s enough.
Another ad slogan described my feeling for my Gratz Cadillac perfectly:
It’s a “Cadillac among Cadillacs!”
I couldn’t have said it better.
Again - the finest can be YOURS! What are you waiting for?
Andrea is a graduate of Vintage Pilates’ inaugural classes of The Work and Teaching the Work, two years of intense study under Jay Grimes, 1st Generation Master Teacher and former student of Joseph Pilates. Andrea has received comprehensive training through Excel Pilates (Washington, DC) and Romana’s Pilates.
She is the owner of a private Pilates studio in Solana Beach, CA and also teaches in Los Angeles at Vintage Pilates.
Andrea is an instructor and blogger for pilatesology.com which is dedicated to recording, preserving and spreading Joseph Pilates’ original work worldwide.