Horace Barre was Louis Cyr’s protege as they traveled the country performing in the John Robinson Circus. Though from Montreal, circuses through a more exotic moniker would be better for ticket sales so Barré was often billed as the “French Hercules” or the “French Sampson” and, like his mentor, he excelled in such oldtime strongman feats as the back lift, hefting heavy dumbbells overhead and barrel lifting.
Saul Hallap was a great Estonian weight lifter who set four world records and seven European records during his career. Hallup also competed in the 1924 Olympic games in Paris where he one-arm snatched 75 kg, one-arm clean & jerked 95 kg, pressed 90 kg, two-hand snatched 90 kg and two-hand clean & jerked 115 kg, which was good for a 465 kg total and a 9th place finish. After his weight lifting career, Hallap became a circus acrobat.
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.