From Gaston Tissandier’s Popular Scientific Recreations (1882). This is even worse than the dog treadmill, where at least the animal has the option to stand still — here he’s confined to a box on the side of a wheel, where, finding himself sliding downward, he’s perpetually forced to climb.
Tissandier says that the machine’s inventor, M. Richard of Paris, employed a large number of women working on sewing machines and conceived the idea of “quadrupedal motors” when he noticed the work was injuring their health. That was generous. “There is very little trouble or expense connected with the working, so a great saving is effected, as the dogs cost little, and are cheaply fed.” Perhaps he found a suitably ironic fate in the afterlife.