Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Dumb-bells.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
In New College, Oxford, there still is an apparatus for developing the muscles similar to that which sets church-bells in motion. It consists of a fly-wheel with a weight attached, and the gymnast is carried by it up and down to bring his muscles into play. The present apparatus was substituted for it, and answers a similar purpose, though the name is greatly obscured.   1



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