A Nostalgic look back at the original Tensolator Green Bullworker Isotonic Power Exercise Bar

Cheryl E Preston

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Bullworker Isotonic Power Exercise BarEbay Screenshot

Charles Atlas paved the way

The original Bullworker Tensolator Green Isotonic Power Exercise Bar was poplar during the 1970s. I though of his gadget as I was reading the article The Rags-to-Riches Story of Charles Atlas by Rupert Taylor. A fond memory came back to me of when I was 14 and my youngest brother was 12, and we were both pencil-thin. Really and —truly we were 95-or rather 85-pound weaklings. We were both teased and we both desired to look more fit, but it was far worse for me being a girl.

We had a lot of ad-filled magazines in our home that offered ways to gain or lose weight and increase breast size and height. As minors, we were not supposed to make such purchases bt one day my brother did. I walked to the post office, which was about three blocks away and when I looked through the glass of PO box number 74 and I saw a square card, I became very excited because that card indicated that there was a package that was too big to fit in the PO box.

The Bullworker arrives

I turned the combination, opened the little door, and took the piece of paper out, and wondered if someone had sent me a present. I presented the card to Ms. Rosalie, the assistant postmaster, who took it and went to the back of the building. When she returned, Ms. Rosalie handed me a long thin box that had my youngest brother's name on it. I was so disappointed that the package was not for me and angry that I had to carry it all the way home.

When he opened the package, I saw that it was a piece of exercise equipment called a Bullworker. It was metal and had cords on each side that you could pull to add tension. The enclosed paperwork indicated that this item would build muscle. That's when I realized that my brother really felt bad about being 5'3" and under 100 pounds.

I understood, as I was the same height and just as thin. Our middle brother was taller and more muscular and a lot of girls thought they were in love with him. He was also good in sports and always on the first string (first team of choice) for softball, basketball, and football. My youngest brother rode the bench and did not have a lot of girls who wanted to "go with" him. I could feel his insecurity and I hoped and prayed that the Bullworker would indeed work.

Did the Bullworker really work?

We both used the Bullworker over the summer without any extreme results. I had hoped it would strengthen my pectoral muscles and increase my 32 A breasts. All we got from the hard work was muscular arms but overall, we both looked pretty much the same. The Bullworker had arrived in June and sometime in late August, a problem arose. An older white gentleman showed up at our house one day looking for my brother and my grandmother had to intervene.

It seems that the Bullworker had been sent because my brother checked the box saying he was over 18 and that he still owed $35 for it. My grandma told the man that she did not order it and certainly did not have $35 to pay for the contraption. She chastised the company for sending a product through the mail without first getting their money.

Memories linger

The representative from the company left our home, but the Bullworker remained. I now wonder why my grandma did not give it back or why the man never asked for it. My brother got the whipping of his life that day and grandma often spoke of the trouble the "Bullwinkle" caused her. I guess the representative decided to chalk it up as a loss but it was his company's property and he had every right to take it back.

My brother and I continued to use the Bullworker and still, all we got from it was muscular arms. By age 19, my brother had grown to 6'0" and over time we both p on weight. I wonder if any other teens ordered the original Tensolator Green Bullworker without permission?

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA
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