First Home Treadmill Developer William Staub Dies at 96

Published Date: July 24th, 2012

July 23 2012

William Staubwho gave the world the a remarkable fitness gift of Home Treadmill died in Clifton on 23 July 2012. William Staub, who died Thursday, was saluted by Runner’s World in a 2006 feature titled “Our Favorite Things: 40 Years of Running Gear Innovation.”

William Staub

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the health and fitness guru who coined the word “aerobics,” described Mr. Staub on Monday as “a pioneer in exercise — not for the athlete, but for the masses.”The Philadelphia-born mechanical engineer came to North Jersey during World War II to work in Curtiss-Wright Corp.’s propeller division. He established Besco Corp., a Clifton manufacturer of aerospace components.Mr. Staub recalled in a 1985 interview with the Herald-News that he was impressed by Cooper’s book and challenged himself to build a personal exercise treadmill because Cooper said the machines would always be too expensive for home use. He developed a treadmill for himself and sent prototype to Cooper in Texas. Cooper liked it and got Mr. Staub his first customers, mostly fitness equipment dealers.
Mr. Staub started building PaceMaster treadmills in his Besco plant and then in Little Falls. He phased out his work for the aerospace industry and focused on treadmills through a company, Aerobics Inc., that borrowed Cooper’s now-ubiquitous term.The father of aerobics added that he was “pleased to hear” the father of the PaceMaster never stopped using a treadmill.

William Staub, a 70-year resident of Clifton, is survived by sons William Jr. of Franklin Township; Norman of Montville; and Gerald and Thomas, both of Rockaway Township; and daughters Dorothy Kentis of Tewksbury and Dolores Colucci-Healey of Montville; a sister, 21 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy, in 2007 and a daughter, Patricia, in 1977.


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