A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Swimming isn’t a sport. Swimming is a way to keep from drowning” (10/22)
“Time kills all deals” (10/22)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/22)
“New York stabs you in the heart; Los Angeles stabs you in the back” (10/22)
“If the military wanted you to have a family, they’d have issued you one” (10/22)
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Entry from April 12, 2014
Dreadmill (dread + treadmill)

The treadmill is a popular piece of exercise equipment; those who don’t like the treadmill have nicknamed it “dreadmill” (dread + treadmill). “Dreadmill” has been cited in print since at least 1984


Wikipedia: Treadmill
A treadmill is a device for walking or running while staying in the same place. Treadmills were introduced before the development of powered machines, to harness the power of animals or humans to do work, often a type of mill that was operated by a person or animal treading steps of a treadwheel to grind grain. In later times treadmills were used as punishment devices for people sentenced to hard labour in prisons. The terms treadmill and treadwheel were used interchangeably for the power and punishment mechanisms.

More recently treadmills are not used to harness power, but as exercise machines for running or walking in one place. Rather than the user powering the mill, the machine provides a moving platform with a wide conveyor belt driven by an electric motor or a flywheel. The belt moves to the rear requiring the user to walk or run at a speed matching that of the belt. The rate at which the belt moves is the rate of walking or running. Thus, the speed of running may be controlled and measured. The more expensive, heavy-duty versions are motor-driven (usually by an electric motor). The simpler, lighter, and less expensive versions passively resist the motion, moving only when walkers push the belt with their feet. The latter are known as manual treadmills.

8 August 1984, Gettysburg (PA) Times, “The true-life drama of Dreadmill” by George Zucker (AP), pg. 26, col. 1:
Dr. Starck’s Dreadmill wasn’t a dreadful device.

Forget that it almost killed him. The Dreadmill was no relic from an old horror movie.

Google Books
Men’s Health:
Staying Young Looking Great

By Michael Lafavore
Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press
1997
Pg. 109:
By this time, a few weeks on the “dreadmill” isn’t going to evict the accumulated fat.

Google Books
Missing Pieces
By Joy Fielding
New York, NY: Dell Publishing
1998
Pg. 29:
There’s another room at the back where I keep my desk, my phone, my files, a small fridge, some stacking chairs, and a treadmill, or “dreadmill,” as I’ve come to refer to it.

Google Books
Fattitudes:
Beat Self-Defeat and Win Your War with Weight

By Jeffrey Wilbert, Ph.D.
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
2000
Pg. 41:
Nowadays I don’t have a basketball court in my basement, so I have to make do with the treadmill, or “dreadmill,” as one client called it.

Urban Dictionary
dreadmill
The conveyor belt to nowhere that one has to walk upon to keep their body in shape, or in times of neglect becomes a place for clutter collection…
Damn, I have to get off the computer now and walk on the cursed dreadmill...
by Carmelynn Cole December 29, 2006

Greatist
The Ultimate Guide to Running Lingo
by Emily Faherty on April 2, 2014
(...)
Dreadmill: Treadmills get this pet name since they’re an often-loathed piece of gym equipment for runners forced indoors due to weather or time constraints. There’s at least one perk though: Studies show it’s actually easier to go faster on a treadmill than out on the road!

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • Saturday, April 12, 2014 • Permalink