Among the number of Sandow’s many “firsts” include the publication of the first publication devoted to strength training. Initially published from 1898 to 1899 titled “Physical Culture,” it eventually changed its name — appropriately enough — to “Sandow’s Magazine of Physical Culture and British Sport and ran until 1907. A variety of topics were covered but Sandow’s advice, articles on his own training, and various feats of strength were the highlight of each issue. Here’s a look at the cover of the April, 1903 edition.
Too old? 75-year old William Barker shows he’s still “got it” by performing a crucifix with a Milo kettlebell handle loaded to 50 pounds hanging from each thumb while still wearing his Sunday best. Barker had previously been featured in LIFE magazine. In 1901, Mr. Barker was a gold-medal winner at one of Sandow’s competitions.
Tehmurasp “T.H.” Sarkari lifting in a contest circa 1920. Sarkari owned a gymnasium in Bombay and was known as “The Indian Sandow” for promoting the importance of physical training and weight lifting in his native country. Sarkari was adept at tearing phone books, which is always an impressive feat.
Harry B. Paschall is shown here, hard at work drawing up his super strongman character Bosco. As a young man, Paschall became inspired after watching Sandow and Saxon in action. He went on do do illustrations for Alan Calvert’s Strength Magazine and, later on, Strength and Health Magazine and the British magazine Vigour. He was also a very good writer, with a number of training articles and three classic books also to his credit.
As mentioned numerous times on this blog, Sandow promoted a variety of products in his heyday. These items including his own line of Health and Strength Cocoa which came packaged in the above tins.
Many strongmen had their own medals or badges as prizes for finishing their training courses. Here’s a look at Sandow’s Physical Culture Badge. This picture is enlarged to show detail, the badge is actually about the size of a quarter.
Physique-wise, Gustav Fristensky was said by many to be as impressive as Sandow but since he was not as well known, did not get his due. Regardless, Fristensky was certainly an exemplary strength athlete as both his lifts and wrestling achievements show. The above image is from the cover of a book written about Fristensky’s life and exploits which was published in 1970.
The Brothers McCann, Henry (left) and Louis (right), of Birmingham, England, were known as Hercules and Samson when they became professional strongmen in the late 1800’s. In December of 1890, at The Royal Music Hall, they challenged Eugen Sandow to a match — and Won! …although they were defeated by Louis Cyr in a similar contest a few years later.