This vintage Battle Creek invention is … interesting

Every day I feel like I am learning something new about Southwest Michigan. Today’s lesson was … interesting to say the least.

This craft is known as the Battle Creek Roller. It was an invention that crept out of the mind of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. The exact release date is difficult to determine but, according to Collectors Weekly, these machines were still sold in department stores in the 1970s. A quick Google search will show you what these things look like. But, luckily for me, I found a Youtube video demonstrating how this thing works:

For something that was invented by a Kellogg, there is surprisingly little information about the Battle Creek Roller. However, this ad, apparently from a 1970s JCPenny catalog, includes a model demonstrating how to use it. You can use the roller on:

  • Your belly
  • Your arms
  • Your legs

Again, as the news is scary, I’m not sure if this invention was intended for weight loss or just to “massage” tight muscles.

In the Michigan History Facebook group, someone by the name of Marc DeGeorge shared a vintage advertisement for the Battle Creek Roller that sent me down this weird rabbit hole. While I don’t have permission to share this post in this post (you can see it here), I would like to share a few of the lines that stood out to me:

Effective for both men AND women! Day or night, Roller is ready for a pleasant and in-depth massage of the heaviest people. Serves as a seat with Hassock Cover. Satisfaction guaranteed.

First of all, I feel like the proper grammar was thrown out the window for this ad. And, does it serve as a seat? It would be better if it was a soft pillow that you throw over those roll rods.

I have never been so happy to have come this far with something so trivial.

This learning journey on the Battle Creek Roller led me to many completely unknown facts about the Kellogg brothers. For example, did you know that the Battle Creek Sanitarium was the inspiration for the 1994 movie “The Road to Wellville”? Starring Matthew Broderick, Anthony Hopkins and John Cusack among others, this movie is definitely not for kids:

Aside from the medical ideas that are still used today, a number of different inventions came from the minds of the Kellogg brothers. You can read more on Wikipedia.

I fully expect to continue to be surprised by random inventions or random facts about Michigan. Although I’ve only been here a year, I’m sure there are facts that even longtime Michiganders don’t know. See if I’m right with 15 Michigan Fun Facts:

15 fun facts you didn’t know about Michigan

15 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Michigan

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