The Mighty Atom draws a crowd while biting a nail in half. Among the onlookers are Bob Hoffman, Dick Bachtell on the bottom left and John Grimek on the lower right. Bob Hoffman listed this feat among the greatest strength feats he had ever witnessed.
Bill Pearl is one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, having won many different bodybuilding titles over his colorful career. Something you may not realize though is that Bill also began performing traditional feats of strength such as license plate ripping (pictured), chain breaking, spike bending, card tearing and even Nail Driving because he “felt that he should BE as strong as he looked.” I don’t think we’ll see his ilk again any time soon.
Tearing a deck of playing cards is one of the all-time classic feats of strength… there have always been whispers that some strongmen had such fearsome fingers that they could “notch” a quarter-sized hole out of a deck… in fact, many people said it was impossible. Dennis Rogers, however, came along and silenced all the doubters by accomplishing the feat. … and not only that, he makes it look easy.
Paul Anderson accomplished many things in his life including an Olympic Gold Medal and World Records in just about every lift he tried… but I bet you didn’t know he was also an expert nail driver too… When he traveled around for speaking engagements, Big Paul figured the quickest way to get an audience’s attention was to perform an unusual feat of strength — and a man driving a nail through a wooden board with his bare hand sure fits the bill! Other great nail driving strongmen include Alexander ‘Amazing Samson’ Zass, Siegmund Breitbart, Dennis Rogers, and The Mighty Atom.
“The Mighty Atom” Joe Greenstein had unusually strong hair and frequently demonstrated this fact by using it to lift or pull very heavy objects. Shown here, The Atom pulls a fire truck loaded with people down the street sometime in the late 1920s. In case you are keeping score at home, the fire truck was an Ahrens-Fox (famously made in Cincinnati, Ohio) — you can tell by the large distinctive chrome sphere at the front which housed part of the pumping mechanism.
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.
Robert Edward “H.E” Mann, of Germantown, Tennessee, followed in the footsteps of Milo of Crotona… He began with a 35-pound Jersey bull calf and lifted it daily. A year later, the bull weighed in at over 500 pounds. The animal kept growing and Mann kept training — eventually the bull weighed over 800 pounds, and Mann was able to carry it 60 yards on his back.