Here’s a clipping from the Chicago News, October 22nd, 1923, showing Breitbart demonstrating his nail driving ability — pounding a nail through a one-inch thick oak board with nothing but his bare hand.
Nail Driving is one of the classical strongman feats, one that not only wows ’em every time but also one that builds tremendous strength in the shoulder and upper body. Several “oldtime” boxers actually practiced nail driving in order to build striking power.
Herrmann’s gym, once located at 1325 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was one of the popular hangouts for many of the strength stars of the early 20th century, most notably Sig Klein and Milo Steinborn, who performed a number of strength feats there. Sandow trained at Herrmann’s place whenever he visited the US. At Hermann’s, classes were taught in boxing, wrestling, fencing, body-building, calisthenics, Indian Clubs, gymnastics and acrobatics.
This picture was taken in 1931 and shows Milo Steinborn getting in a quick workout on the newly added open-air section of the gym (used for hand ball and training in the fresh air and sun shine, among other pursuits.) Herrmann’s son (also named William) won the bronze medal in tumbling at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
It was Burrows’ feeling was that swinging Indian Clubs was the finest all around exercise for health and strength.
In this particular course, Exercise 1 is for chest expansion, balance and leg development… Exercise 2 is for building the waist and arms… Exercise 3 works the trunk… Exercise 4 develops the shoulders and thigh muscles… Exercise 5 is for the abdominals… Exercise 6 works the arms, legs, trunk and thighs… Exercise 7 is for chest development and Exercise 8 is for arms, legs and trunk development.