Who Made DP Exercise Equipment?

By Cam Merritt

DP exercise equipment was manufactured by Diversified Products and at one time was the best-selling home exercise gear in the world. However, DP equipment is no longer made.


Diversified Products was founded in the early 1960s by Fob James, who would later become governor of Alabama. The James family sold its interest in 1991; production of DP equipment ceased in 1998.


DP's signature product was barbells with "Orbatron" weights--concrete plates coated with plastic. It also made weight benches and machines, plus cardio equipment.


DP exercise equipment was marketed for home use and sold through fitness retailers and department stores, such as Sears and Montgomery Ward.


Early on, the company appealed to consumers -- particularly young people -- with endorsements from major sports stars of the era, such as baseball manager Billy Hitchcock, quarterback Bart Starr, tennis player Margaret Court and golfer Gary Player.


Starting with one factory in Opelika, Ala., DP added plants in California, Mexico, Canada and Wales. At its height, it had 2,800 employees.

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