Ethiopians grieve death of Bowflex inventor
RSF
October 19, 2014


Dosho Tessema Shifferaw
SAN FRANCISCO (Ethiomedia) - Dosho Tessema Shifferaw, an Ethiopian American entrepreneur who invented Bowflex, a household name in gyms worldwide, was laid to rest on Saturday after he died of a brain tumor on Thursday.

"Shifferaw invented the Bowflex, a home weight machine that uses bendable rods instead of weight plates to provide resistance, in the early 1980s, while trying to design an ergonomic chair for a City College of San Francisco class project. Widely marketed on infomercials, more than $3 billion worth of the machines have been sold over the years. Its success eventually made Shifferaw a multimillionaire," Lindsay Riddell wrote in the San Francisco Business Times on March 22, 2013.

In 2005, Dosho was a recepient of the US Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) award.

A holder of over 16 patents, Tessema emigrated to the United States when he was 19. He was the son of an army general during the reign of Emperor Haileselassie of Ethiopia.

Upon arrival in the US, Tessema was doubling as a taxi driver and an engineering student at City College of San Francisco, where he accidently discovered the homeweight machine while working on a project for an ergonomic chair for his college.

In 2012, Tessema was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and he was told he may not live long to see his projects bearing fruit.

"They told me that I'd live about five years, may be less, but hopefully more, he told the San Francisco Business Times reporter last year. Dosho is survived by his wife and three children.


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