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The Human Anvil 2

One of the few known images of Prof. Frank Dufrane, The Human Anvil. This one was taken by the famed Swords Bros. Photographers in York, PA likely in the mid-1890's. We've covered Prof. Dufrane before, but since then have unearthed a few more details about him, namely, that he performed many traditional strongman feats: he drove nails through one and two inch boards with his bare hands...bent metal bars across his teeth and neck and, of course, held a 1,000 pound rock on his chest whilst a member of the audience slugged away at it with a 17 lb. sledge hammer -- which could not have been comfortable any way you slice it. Dufrane was billed as "The strongest man of his weight on Earth" - which was likely true -- he weighed only 145 lbs.!

Elmo Santiago

Elmo Santiago on the cover of the December, 1959 issue of Strength and Health -- He won the AAU Junior Mr. America contest that year.

The popular (and quite prolific) New York bodybuilder also won the AAU Mr. New York Metropolitan contest in 1953, Mr. New York City in 1954, Mr. Eastern America in 1958, Mr. North America in 1960, and the 1965 NABBA Mr. Universe title.

Kurt Saxon

Among the members of the Saxon Trio it was Arthur who got most of the spotlight but the other members were quite strong in their own right. Kurt Saxon for example, could bent-press over 300 pounds at a bodyweight of only 170. His exceptional muscularity is evident even in this old photo.

Three Wrestlers

A Trio of early wrestlers, from left to right: Paul Pons, Raoul "Le Boucher" (The Butcher) Musson and Ivan Shemyakin. This rare shot was most likely taken at "Le tournoi annue de lutta de la Ceinture d'or" held at the Folies-Bergere in 1904.

Pierre Bonnes, 1903

Pierre Bonnes was a great French strongman and weightlifter who was at his best in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1898, he set the "official" world record in the One Arm Snatch with a lift of 85.5 kilos. He bested this lift on several other occasions albeit under unofficial conditions. Here's how Bonnes looked after winning the "World Strength Championship" in 1903. (Bonnes won again in 1905.)

Jack Hayes

Jack Hayes, of the famed Camberwell Weight-Lifting Club, was one of W.A. Pullum's top students. Hayes was the 8-stone Amateur Champion of Great Britain from 1914 through 1920, and again in 1925.

Extreme Neck Strength III

Here's another one for the "don't try this at home" file" Strongman Saxon Brown lets a motorcycle and rider drive across his throat! This was in 1934 when Saxon was trying to drum up a little interest for his Winter Tour. Does this qualify as a feat of strength? I don't know, but I'd definitely want to see his show so it had the intended result.

Gustave Empain

Gustave Empain the Belgian weightlifter, finished third at the 1903 World Weightlifting Championships, behind Francois Lancoud and Heinrich Schneidereit. Empain's greatest feat, however, was a Muscle Out of 76 pounds, which he did in front of Professor Desbonnet at the Weightlifting Club of France. After retiring from competition, Empain opened a bar in his hometown of Charleroi, Belgium.

Young Louis Cyr

A look at a young Louis Cyr taking a huge Globe Dumbbell for a ride. Cyr was 18 years of age at the time. This rare engraving is from a Quebec newspaper from the late 1800s. Cyr had just defeated David Michaud, the Canadian champion. It was with this very dumbbell that Cyr set many of his strongman records. 

Physical Training in Ancient Turkey

The gymnastic exercises of the students of Mekteb-i Sultani, taken in Istanbul, Turkey, circa 1879. Note the use of large globe dumbbells, ring weights, kettlebells and the high bar for gymnastics.
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