The Great Peters — The Man With The Iron Neck!

Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2018 by John Wood
Aloys Peters was a German acrobat who developed an unusual skill — he could jump off a platform 75 feet in the air with a hangman’s noose around his neck and yet not hang himself. He had figured out the knack where he could maneuver his body mid-air and “tame the arc” taking the jolt out of gravity’s cruel grasp. Peters performed this feat initially for the famous Strassburger Circus in Berlin and then the Sells-Floto Circus on US shores in the early 1930’s.

Madame Yucca – The Female Hercules

Posted on Sunday, April 17th, 2016 by John Wood

A rare poster featuring Madame Yucca as performing in the Forepaugh and Sells Brother Circus. The Female Hercules was shown lifting various globe weights overhead, harness lifting several animals including an elephant and even lifting an anvil with her teeth. Note the use of kettlebells for one and two arm lifts. The poster dates from 1898.
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 Circus Poster

Posted on Saturday, July 25th, 2015 by John Wood
Here’s one that no one has seen for a long time: a rare poster of Siegmund Breitbart from the Paris stop of his European Tour.  Breitbart is shown supporting a woman playing the piano, two horses and a crowd of people all on his chest.
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.

Grigori Novak Circus Poster

Posted on Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 by John Wood
We’ve covered Grigori Novak’s weightlifting career previously. Novak got a handful of Olympic medals and set over a hundred lifting records but once his competitive career came to an end, he did what any great strength athlete would do: he ran off to the circus! For the next 25 years, Novak was a genuine performing strongman, lifting barbells, juggling kettlebells, supporting heavy weights and the like. Eventually his sons Roman and Arkady even joined the act. Above, you’ll see a rare poster of Novak’s circus days.
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.

Apollon Poster

Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2015 by John Wood
Here’s a rare poster from Apollon 1897 tour of Germany. Unsurprisingly, heavy supporting lifts were the norm as they allowed rather impressive weights (and types of weights) to be used. It was probably Sandow who began this practice, lifting a horse with one arm and walking across the stage. As far as lifting bicycles and their riders, this feat made appearances for many years to come, (check out this and this.)
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.

A Congress of Japan’s Famous Strong Men

Posted on Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 by John Wood

Here’s a pretty interesting item, a poster from the Barnum and Bailey Circus advertising “A Congress of Japan’s Famous Strong Men.” Based on the attire, I would expect to see sumo wrestling and/or grappling such as is pictured in the top half of the poster.

The bottom illustrations are intriguing though: Sumo wrestlers engaging in stone lifting, steel scrolling, live animal wrestling, horseshoe bending, chain breaking… and of particular interest is the gent in the bottom right holding a kettlebell in each hand. This poster is from the 1921 Circus season.

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.

Louis Cyr and Horace Barre ~ John Robinson’s $25,000 Challenge Feature

Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2014 by John Wood
During the 1898 Circus Season, Canadian Strongman Louis Cyr and his assistant/protege’ Horace Barre performed their unique feats of strength all around the country in the John Robinson Circus. As Cyr and Barre criss-crossed the map, John Robinson put up $25,000 for any person who could duplicate any ONE of their feats. Their performance included the back lift, Cyr’s Barrel Lifting Feat, supporting feats, and lifting other heavy dumbbells or blockweights of various sizes and shapes. Adjusting for inflation, that would be nearly $600,000 today, and, ironically enough, their money would still be safe…
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.

Karl Abs at The Winter Circus

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by John Wood

Karl Abs at The Winter Circus

Here’s an extremely rare poster from the late 1880’s, when Karl Abs was the featured attraction at the Cirque d’ Hiver (Winter Circus) exhibition hall in Paris, France. Each night, Abs harness-lifted a horse and challenged all comers in the wrestling ring, (among other feats.) It’s pretty awesome that the Cirque d’ Hiver, which opened in 1852, is actually still going strong to this day.

Russian Strongman Circus Poster

Posted on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 by John Wood

Russian Strongman Circus Poster

A Russian Strongman Circus Poster from 1899 – heavy one arm supports… horse lifting… stone breaking (by sledge hammer AND fist)… kettlebell juggling… where do I get my tickets?
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.