An unhealthy child. Joseph Pilates was an unhealthy child, which led him to study many kinds of self-improvement systems. Contrology. Joseph Pilates originally named his method Contrology. It didn't stick. Joe's Books. Joseph Pilates authored 2 books, published in 1934 and 1945 about revolutionizing physical education, and rehabilitation through Contrology. Pilates comes to America. Joseph Pilates and his wife Clara moved to New York and opened their first studio in 1926, sharing an address with the NYC Ballet. Pilates in the 1920s. Joseph Pilates created what is now known as Pilates as a rehabilitation program for prisoners of war in Britain. Pilates the man. German-born Joseph Pilates lived 1880 â€“ 1967. He developed his method while imprisoned in England during WWI to rehabilitate fellow detainees. The Pilates Elders. The first generation of teachers who were trained by Joseph Pilates at his studio in New York are known as the Pilates Elders. The Pilates family. Joseph Pilates met his wife Clara, a nurse, during his boat passage from Germany to America in 1926. The Reformer. Joseph Pilates invented what became the Reformer using bed springs and spare parts he could find while imprisoned in England in the 1920s.