Saxon Brown

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014 by John Wood

Saxon Brown

In 1924, at seventeen years of age, Saxon Brown was Britain’s strongest youth. As a professional, he performed many traditional feats of strength such as Nail Driving, Nail Bending, Card Tearing, The Human Chain and Steel Scrolling.

Brown could also lift a car from the side and would let a motorcycle drive over his neck as a part of his act…he is thought to be the first man to pull a bus with his teeth. Brown was also clearly a big fan of chest expanders.

Precary Amiable, Card Tearing Champion of The World

Posted on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by John Wood

Precary Amiable, Card Tearing Champion

Precary Amiable, the French strongman, won the 1913 card tearing championship of the world by ripping an astounding 210 cards at once. That’s over four decks! Also, it looks like card tearing certainly “does a body good,” ~ our man is sporting a set of arms that are still very impressive a century later (notably at a body weight of only 150 lbs.)
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.

Physical Culture, March, 1904

Posted on Friday, September 27th, 2013 by John Wood
Al Treloar, Physical Culture 1904
A look at the great Al Treloar on the cover of the March, 1904 issue of Bernarr MacFadden’s Physical Culture Magazine. As indicated, Treloar had just won the world’s first international bodybuilding contest. When adjusted for inflation, the $1,000 prize would equal over $25,000 in today’s money. As impressive as he was from a muscular standpoint, Treloar wasn’t all show, he could tear three decks of playing cards at once.
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.

Young Thomas Inch

Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2013 by John Wood

Young Thomas Inch Tearing a Deck of Cards

Here’s a rare look at a cabinet card featuring a young Thomas Inch, demonstrating his card tearing ability. Inch won the title of “Britain’s Strongest Youth, at sixteen years of age, so this cabinet card from 1899 would make him around eighteen. Of course, Inch also went on to hold the title of “Britain’s Strongest Man” and it’s certainly not hard to see why.
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.

Stanley Radwan ~ The Iron Man

Posted on Thursday, September 20th, 2012 by John Wood

Stanley Radwan ~ The Iron Man

Stanley Radwan was a catch-wrestler and strongman who performed during the 1940’s and 50’s in the Cleveland, Ohio area. This event poster from 1949 advertises Radwan pulling cars with his teeth, biting through steel, breaking chains, bending horseshoes, bend nails and spikes, nail driving by hand, tearing decks of cards, and performing the human chain feat. It was said Radwan could also bend coins with his hands. As a side note, St. Josaphat’s Hall is still around, it was converted to an art gallery a few years ago.

Professor Attila

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 by John Wood

Professor Louis Attila

Professor Attila — real name Louis Durlacher — was the mentor of Eugen Sandow and the man who invented many of the feats of strength that we know of today: The Roman Column, The Roman Chair, supporting feats in the human bridge position and tearing packs of playing cards. It was Attiila’s idea to make globe barbells and dumbbells shot-loadable so that their weight could be adjusted. Attila invented the bent-press and was the first man to perform the lift with over 200 pounds.

In 1894, Professor opened his famous Studio of Physical Culture in downtown New York city and it became a hotbed for learning the strongman trade. In addition to Sandow, Professor Attila could list many other famous strongmen among his students: Warren Lincoln Travis, Anthony Barker, Horace Barre, Arthur Dandurand, Lionel Strongfort, George Rolandow, Louis Cyr, Bobby Pandour and Adolph Nordquest.

Attila’s daughter, Grace, later married Sig Klein.

A Quarter-Sized Notch

Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 by John Wood

Paul Von Boeckman could rip a quarter-sized chunk out of a deck of cards

If you want to perform amazing strength feats, then having super strong hands is a must… It’s impressive to be able to rip a deck of cards in half, but the great Texas strongman Paul Von Boeckmann took it a step further by ripping this quarter-sized chunk out of a 52-card deck. For obvious reasons, this type of feat is referred to as “card notching.” Von Boeckman could also tear a deck of cards into eighths.
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 Great’ Joe Rollino

Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 by John Wood

Joe Rollino

Joe Rollino learned the strongman trade as an assistant to Warren Lincoln Travis at the famed Coney Island. In the 1920’s, Rollino branched out into his own strongman act.

Joe stood 5’5″ and weighed just under 150 pounds but possessed the strength of someone twice his size. He easily performed all the traditional feats of strength such as back lifting, finger lifting, nail bending, phonebook and playing card tearing and, shown here, bending a spike in his teeth. He once lifted 635 pounds with one finger.

Rollino was also a boxer under the name “Kid Dundee” and, like many strongmen of the day, was a very good hand balancer. Joe was a lifelong vegetarian and lived to 105 years old. He passed away a few years ago, not from sickness or disease but from getting hit by a van while crossing the street to pick up his morning paper.