Cafe Des Indes

Posted on Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 by John Wood
Images of strength have been used for marketing purposes for years. Here’s a French advertisement for Indian Coffee that dates to 1901. This strong fellow — evidently named Mr. Lefort — is hefting a globe dumbbell and some French blockweights. Needless to say, their coffee was similarly STRONG. Beware of imitators!
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Raoul le Boucher

Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 by John Wood
Raoul le Boucher (The Butcher) as he looked in later 1901 as the heavyweight wrestling champion of France. This shot was taken in Paul Pons’ gym in Paris. The vast majority of the images of famous strongmen and wrestlers were taken here in the early 20th century as it was essentially the center of the “strongman” world in the day.

Pons had an untold number of globe barbells and dumbbells to train with, plus a sandpit floor so that the globes would not be damaged should they be dropped. Look closely and you’ll also see a poster in the background for “The 4 Cliftons” a traveling troupe of acrobats.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Von Krajewski’s Gym

Posted on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 by John Wood
Here’s a unique look at Dr. Vladislav Von Krajewski’s Gym in St. Petersburg, Russia, circa 1901. This is the place where an untold number of strength champions trained, most notably George Hackenschmidt. I know that I could sure get strong in a place like this.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

1901 Sandow Grip Dumbbell Poster

Posted on Monday, August 24th, 2015 by John Wood
Sandow’s Grip Dumbbells were one of the earliest pieces of commercial training equipment, and the most popular as well. Here we have a nifty advertising poster for them from 1901 that not many folks have seen before.

KAL-LI-THEN-OS Force Clubs

Posted on Saturday, May 30th, 2015 by John Wood
The idea of loadable/adjustable Indian clubs may seem like a modern one, but actually it has been around for a long time. This Ad for the KAL-LI-THEN-OS Force Clubs appeared in the June, 1901 issue of Bernarr MacFadden’s Physical Culture magazine. Ever seen one? These clubs were a work of art, polished steel with nickel handles.

Edward Kunath

Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014 by John Wood

Edward Kunath, of Jersey City, New Jersey was the AAU National Rope Climbing Champion of 1899-1903, 1907 and 1909. He set many records over the course of his career, one of which was in 1901 when he climbed 25 feet in 6.8 seconds. When you do the math, that is over 44 inches per second! A few years later, Kunath invented and patented the spacer for manual typewriters, making him millions.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

The W. & H. Grip Machine

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by John Wood

Grip training has always been a very good idea. Back in 1901, if you wanted to train your grip, one of your options was the W & H Grip machine, which is claimed to cure insomnia, writer’s cramp, nervous trembling and all manner of other physical ills. Be that as it may, the fellow pictured above does certainly have a rather stout forearm.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2021 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Luigi Monticelli Obizzi

Posted on Sunday, February 9th, 2014 by John Wood

Luigi Monticelli Obizzi

Luigi Monticelli Obizzi, an Italian Marquis, led a very active childhood involved in gymnastics, swimming, fencing and rowing, but did not take up weightlifting until 20 years old.

He found that he was quite adept at it, so much so that in 1890, Obizzi founded the Milan Athletic Club and was instrumental in spreading weightlifting and physical training throughout Europe. At the Italian Weightlifting Championship, he finished 3rd, in 1897, 3rd in 1900 and 2nd in 1901 and 1902.
Working closely with Professor Desbonnet, Obizzi, helped establish the first Weightlifting Championship of France in 1901 (which he also helped judge.) It was under Obizzi’s suggestion that weightlifting contests adopted weight classes, a feature that continues to this day.

Obizzi weighed only 160 pounds but was quite strong, one of his best lifts was a military press of 200 pounds AND he also had a truly excellent mustache.

The Yale Gymnasium

Posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 by John Wood

The Yale Gymnasium

In keeping with the concept of ‘Mens sana in corpore sano” (A sound mind in a healthy body), at the turn of the last century, the Ivy League schools were centers for physical education in addition to academic pursuits.  Here’s a rare look at the interior of the Yale University Gymnasium, circa 1901.

This grand facility was located at 55 Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut and was under the direction of Mr. William Gilbert Anderson, a famous physical education teacher and author.