Cadillacs, Reformers and Wunda Chairs
The Cadillac originated from a bed with bedsprings attached to the wall at the head of the bed, for arm and leg exercises. During WWI, Joe worked with injured soldiers creating Cadillac exercises they could perform while recovering in their beds. Now, the Cadillac is an elevated mat with arm and leg springs attached to one side, the push-through bar with attaching springs on the opposite side and a canopy above for various hanging exercises.
Originally called the Universal Reformer, this apparatus was the last to be designed because of its complexity. It is like a moving Cadillac. The mat glides on a horizontal track attached to the base with spring resistance. There is the footbar at the base to push away from against the tension of the springs. On the way back, the eccentric control mimics the gravitational pull when standing. Straps connect to the top of the mat so that arms and legs pulling on them work against the desired spring resistance. Joseph Pilates designed this apparatus so that the client could use the resistance of the equipment rather than the teacher's, thus taking ownership of their own workout.
The Wunda Chair was also known as "the Home Reformer" because it took up much less space in one's tiny New York City apartment. It has a smaller mat platform on top with a pedal below with spring resistance. Its size requires more precise movement and balance, making it a challenge for the intermediate client. For beginners, a backboard and handles are added for support. Add a pillow and turn it on its side, it could be disguised as a living room chair.