The Rasso Trio were a group of performing strongmen started by the German strongman George Stanglemeier. The original trio also included Heinrich Weber and Godfrey Nordmann, though many other members came and went over the years. As shown in this extremely rare poster, the trio’s act consisted of lifting, juggling and carrying globe barbells, block weights and each other! The Rasso Trio performed at the Casino de Paris throughout the 1890’s and in that time, had a famous run-in with the great French strongman Apollon, which we’ll cover at another date.
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.
Unfortunately we haven’t found much in our files on Gaston de Paris but muscling out a 20 kg blockweight, as he is doing here, is no small feat. Based on that accomplishment, he would have to have been fairly proficient. He clearly has excellent taste in equipment otherwise.
Alfred Decottignies, shown here ‘muscling out’ a block weight whilst simultaneously pressing a heavy globe barbell overhead, established the Comines Weightlifting Club in northern France in 1892. The club is still going strong today making it the oldest ongoing weightlifting club in existence. Alfred’s son, Edmond Decottignies went on to win the gold medal in the lightweight class in the 1924 Paris Olympic games.