William Bankier, also billed as “Apollo, The Scottish Hercules” Was born the eldest son of a weaver and after becoming fascinated by the idea of becoming a circus performer, ran away and did just that at twelve years old. At first, Bankier did hard labor and whatever else the circus life required to earn his keep. Bankier was particularly enamored by the strongman and kept a close eye on his act. One day, when the strongman had a little too much to drink, Bankier stepped in and gave a satisfactory performance. He was fifteen years of age at the time.
The bosses were impressed and his reputation spread. Over the next few years, Bankier performed with several different circuses. Among other feats, for his act, Bankier would harness lift an elephant and perform a backward somersault over a chair while carrying a 56 lb weight in each hand. Bankier had a rather interesting method for building bicep strength and size which is covered here.