Billed as “The World’s Miracle Strongman,” Galen Gough from Howard’s Grove, Kentucky certainly lived up to his title. Gough was injured while serving in World War I but built himself back to health and strength through physical training methods. His results were so dramatic that a career as a performing strongman soon followed.
Gough performed feats of strength in carnivals, fairs and vaudeville houses all over the country. In addition to “traditional” strongman feats such as The Human Link, Nail Driving, and bar bending, Gough came up with many of his own including dangling from a rope tied to an airplane by his teeth, with a 50 pound weight in each hand, biting keys in half, and juggling a 300-pound anvil!
One of his many adventures was to perform feats of strength as publicity stunts for the Louisville, Kentucky-based Oertel Brewing Company which is the origin of the ‘Barrel’ barbell pictured here.