Yussif Mahmout

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2018 by John Wood
Yussif Mahmout was a great turn-of-the-century catch wrestler who methodically made his way through wrestler of prominence in America until he could at last face Frank Gotch at Dexter Park Pavilion in Chicago on April 14th, 1909.

Mahmout caused an uproar when he entered the ring barefoot as was the custom in his native Bulgaria. The Gotch camp protested, believing it was a ploy to avoid Gotch’s vicious toe hold. The referee ruled in Mahmout’s favor and the match commenced as originally intended… it turned out to be a moot point with the American champion throwing the Bulgarian twice inside of seventeen minutes.

George W. Patterson and His Electric Indian Clubs

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2018 by John Wood
Mr. George W. Patterson, of Chicago, Illinois, was an avid Indian Club swinger who was also an engineer. One day he had an interesting idea: to devise a means of attaching electric lights to his clubs whilst swinging them in a darkened theatre, thus producing a number of interesting patterns. The clubs were of special construction with the current supplied by flexible wires enclosed in a rubber tube. Three series of eight, three, and one candle power colored lamps are set in sockets in the club at right angles to the center of the clubs, which are split lengthwise. At the tip of each club is a 32-candle-power lamp. When current is not otherwise available (which was often the case in these days — the early 1900’s) a large portable storage battery furnished the necessary power.

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 Honorable George P. Kersten

Posted on Friday, June 29th, 2018 by John Wood
During the last century, a few minutes of Indian Club Swinging were not out of place during the normal work day. These sessions helped relieve tension and stress thus allowing for more productive work to be accomplished. Above is George P. Kersten, the longtime judge of Cook County, Illinois. The good judge certainly had his hands full in the city of Chicago during Prohibition years. Still, he never missed an opportunity to swing the clubs. These pictures are dated 1922.

Kersten worked his way up through the court system from a job as a clerk in police court in 1880, getting his law degree in 1885, a justice of the peace in 1900 and election to the circuit court in 1903. It was said that at one point he turned down a run for the Mayor of Chicago since he enjoyed being a judge so much. Notably, Kersten was also a crack shot, well-known as one of the most prominent marksmen in the Northwest, and was a long-time member of the Chicago Sharpshooter’s Association.

Cyr’s One Finger Lift

Posted on Tuesday, January 9th, 2018 by John Wood
At St. Louis Hall in Chicago, Illinois on May 7th, 1896, in front of 1000 spectators, Louis Cyr lifted a 535 lb. weight clear of the floor with one finger. This was just a warmup through, among the other feats performed that day: a “muscle out” with a 131-1/4 lb. dumbbell, held for five seconds at a perfect right angle to the body, then brought back to the shoulder with ease … a one arm press of 258-1/4 lb. dumbbell … shouldering with one hand, a 433 lb. barrel filled with sand and water … pressing a 162-1/2 lb dumbbell overhead 36 times in succession.
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.

An Unusual Barbell

Posted on Friday, November 10th, 2017 by John Wood
J.J. Brown doing a few overhead presses with a very interesting looking barbell in the new gymnasium at the Shakespeare Avenue police station in Chicago, Illinois, circa 1924.
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.

Gotch vs. Hackenschmidt

Posted on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 by John Wood

The greatest pro wrestling match ever held is undoubtedly on April 3rd, 1908 when the Frank Gotch and George “The Russian Lion” Hackenschmidt stepped in the ring to face each other after years of build-up. The undefeated Hackenschmidt was favored to win but after two hours of grappling, he finally submitted to an ankle lock by the American Champion Gotch. The match took place at Chicago’s Dexter Park Pavilion. The referee (middle, above) was Ed Smith.

Gotch and Hackenschmidt would face each other once again on September 4, 1911, this time at Comiskey Park stadium in front of 30,000 fans. Gotch won the rematch in two straight falls and would go on to hold the heavyweight title until he retired in 1913.

Sergio’s Other Job

Posted on Thursday, January 12th, 2017 by John Wood

Sergio Oliva’s “real” job was a Chicago police officer, a position he held for 27 years. With a 60 inch chest and 20 inch arms, unsurprisingly, his uniforms had to be custom made. You’d probably think twice about jay walking with this guy coming your way.
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.

Siegmund Breitbart Newspaper Clipping

Posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2013 by John Wood
Siegmund Breitbart Newspaper Clipping

Siegmund Breitbart toured the United States in the 1920’s, performing feats of strength AND amazing crowds wherever he went.

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.

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.

John Mallo

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 by John Wood

John Mallo - weightlifter

John Mallo, from Akron, Ohio, was the Heavyweight Sr. National Weightlifting Champion in 1933. The Nationals were held at the Chicago Word’s Fair that year. He totaled 760-1/2 lb. and his press of 231-1/2 pounds broke the previous record which had stood for six years, by five pounds. This was even more impressive given the fact that Mallo had only been training for three years. Mallo was a student of Larry Barnholth at the American College of Modern
Weightlifting.

Louis Cyr’s Barrel Lifting Feat

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 by John Wood

Louis Cyr Barrel Lifting

On May 8th, 1896, the great Canadian strongman Louis Cyr performed several amazing feats of strength, among them lifting and shouldering a 433 lb. barrel with one hand. The barrel was filled with a mixture of water and sand and the feat took place at Saint-Louis Hall in Chicago, Illinois.
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.