The Amazing Samson!

Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 by John Wood
Many strongmen performed The Human Link Feat but around 1920, The Amazing Samson upped the ante by a bunch. He not only held back a pair of draught horses, he also bent a steel bar over his leg at the same time! Amazing indeed. It should also probably be mentioned that he attempted this feat as a result of a bet.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Felice Napoli

Posted on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 by John Wood
One of the earliest of the Oldtime Strongmen, Felice Napoli of Italy was performing incredible feats of strength in Wallshlager’s Circus in the 1850’s. Napoli dressed as the mythical Hercules as he performed and certainly lived up to it: Napoli’s act consisted of his having a cannon shot off while held on his shoulders, bending iron bars, lifting heavy weights while hanging upside down from a trapeze, The Tomb of Hercules, and performing feats while hanging on a vertically suspended rope, a type of feat known as “The Spanish Web’. Plus, he had an excellent goatee.

Harry Luft: The Brooklyn Samson

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
Shown here is Harry Luft, age 17, performing his own specialty of tearing not one but TWO 2000 page telephone directories in half. Harry, who weighs but 142 pounds, stand 5 feet 4 and does other strongman feats such as bending iron bars in his teeth, is one of the “Samson Twins” of Brooklyn, New York. The other twin is his 15 year old brother Sol who also bends iron bars in his teeth and who emulates his older brother’s book tearing stunt by destroying Red Books, which are about 1/3rd as thick as the directories. Harry elected to tear these phone books lengthwise instead of the more common method of breaking the spine ~ impressive! Harry was inspired to become a strongman by Siegmund Breitbart. Luft was also a vegetarian.

Galen Gough – “The World’s Miracle Strongman”

Posted on Sunday, May 15th, 2016 by John Wood
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.

Vansittart’s Spike

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2015 by John Wood

They used to call Charles Vansittart “The Man With The Iron Grip” for good reason — he could bend an Old English penny, rip a tennis ball in half and bend a spike like the one pictured above.

Bending bars, spikes and nails has always been a traditional Oldtime Strongman feat, not only do many people find it incredibly impressive but merely doing it will build tremendous strength throughout the entire body.

You can tell that rectangular stock (like the spike above) was actually hand bent by the shape. If a piece of steel was truly hand bent, it will bend on the angle, not the flat edge.

Wilfred Briton

Posted on Thursday, March 5th, 2015 by John Wood
Wilfred Briton, from Yorkshire, was the toast of the variety show circuit in the 1930’s and 40’s. “The Amazing Briton” performed a multitude of traditional strongman feats such as breaking clay pipes in his clenched fists, bending iron bars, supporting a piano player in the “Tomb of Hercules, pulling heavy strands while supporting two other people, and, as shown here, ripping decks of cards in half (always a popular one.) Briton was the feature of several newsreel shorts highlighting his strength feats.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Bar Bending Gust Lessis

Posted on Saturday, January 31st, 2015 by John Wood

Greek Strongman/Wrestler/Boxer Gust Lessis liked to psyche out his opponents by performing feats of strength. Here’s Gust bending an impressively thick steel bar in his mouth.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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.

Charles Vansittart: The Man With The Iron Grip

Posted on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 by John Wood
Vansittart: The Man With The Iron Grip
Given his penchant for ripping tennis balls in half and bending railroad spikes, it is not hard to see why Charles Vansittart was known as the man with the “Iron Grip.”

Though this photo is well over a hundred years old, you can still plainly see that Vansittart had the genetics to be a strength champion. You can read about some of Vansittart’s favorite exercises HERE.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 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 © 2005-2019 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 Mighty Atlas

Posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 by John Wood
The Mighty Atlas - Anvil Neck Strength
You’ve probably seen the old feat of strength where a strongman puts an anvil or a large stone slab on his chest and lets someone hit it with a sledge hammer… but I guarantee you haven’t seen this feat before though, — “The Mighty Atlas,” Morris Shapiro, a professional wrestler from Brooklyn, New York, teeth-lifting an anvil while someone else whacks said anvil with a sledge hammer.

Now that’s impressive!

The Mighty Atlas often demonstrated feats of strength before his matches, bending iron bars, snapping chains, ripping phone books etc. He learned the secrets of strength from his father who was a strongman in the Russian Circus in Minsk.