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Industryfitness equipment
Key people
Lanny Potts, Jim Walker, and George Schupp Brent Teal, CTO
WebsiteStairMaster website

StairMaster is an American company specializing in the design and production of fitness equipment for commercial, light commercial, and home use. They sell cardiovascular and strength equipment such as stair climbing machines, TreadClimber cardio machines and dumbbell sets.


StairMaster was founded by Lanny Potts, Jim Walker, and George Schupp and launched by Tri-Tech, Inc of Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1983 at the National Sporting Goods Association trade show. The first piece of equipment, StairMaster 5000, was a rotating staircase machine. In March 1984 the StairMaster 5000 was replaced with the StairMaster 6000. Mechanically the StairMaster 6000 was virtually identical to its predecessor, but the 6000 displayed workout information on a CRT, printed a workout summary on a thermal printer, and included a heart rate monitor.

In February 1986 the StairMaster 4000PT was launched at the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) convention in Nashville, TN. The StairMaster 4000PT provided two pedals with independent motion to simulate stair climbing. Updates of this machine appeared in 1998 and 2005, and in 2011 the StairClimber 5 was released.

In 1987 an assisted chin and dip machine was launched under Gravitron name. The original Gravitron used a compressor, accumulator, and pneumatic cylinder to provide programmable assistance to an exerciser. The pneumatic Gravitron proved a little too complex to maintain for the typical health club and was later replaced with the Gravitron 2000 AT, a weight-stack version.

In 1988 the Gauntlet was introduced. The Gauntlet was a rotating staircase like the StairMaster 6,000, but used an alternator-based braking system to bring electronic speed control to the product. The Gauntlet eventually became known as the StepMill in 2005. In 2011 the latest version, the StepMill 5, was released at IHRSA in Los Angeles, CA with technology of a touch screen console, iPod connectivity and high definition television.

Product timeline[edit]

1983 – StairMaster 5000
1984 – StairMaster 6000
1988 – Gauntlet
1991 – StepMill 7000PT
2008 – StepMill 916 (SM916)
2011 – StepMill 5 (SM5)
2012 – StepMill 3 (SM3)

1986 – StairMaster 4000 PT
1998 – StairMaster 4400 PT & CL
1999 - StairMaster 4600 PT & CL
2008 – StairClimber 916 (SC916)
2011 – StairClimber 5 (SC5)

1989 – Gravitron 8000
1997 – Gravitron 2000 AT

Additional products
2011 – TwistLock Dumbbells
2013 – TreadClimber


The company went through a series of ownership changes from 1988 to 2010. The company was finally acquired in December 2010 by Core Health and Fitness. StairMaster's corporate headquarters are in Vancouver, WA.

1983 - Tri Tech
1987 – Randall Sports/Medical Products
1992 – StairMaster Sports/Medical Product
1996 – Garden Way Inc. (Troy Built )
1997 – Rutledge Partners II, LP
2002 – Direct Focus/Nautilus
2010 – Core Health and Fitness

External links[edit]