A look at the Roubaix Athletic club in Northern France, circa 1906. This club had an excellent assortment of globe dumbbells and an equally excellent assortment of strongman posters on the walls — look closely, you’ll find The Rasso Trio, Apollon, Sampson and Cyclops, John Grunn Marx and Batta. A number of famous “names” trained there, including Jules Parent, Athleta, Noel Le Gaulois, Pierre Bonnes, Batta, Charles Poire, Felix Bernard and Constant le Bouche.
Here’s a fellow whose name and exploits seems to have slipped through the cracks of Iron History: Jacques Montane was the Amateur Card Tearing Champion of France in the early 1900’s. His bests were 90 cards torn in half, 52 torn in quarters, 40 in eighths and 32 cards in sixteenths.
Louis Vasseur, Of Roubaix, was the first man to one-hand snatch 100kg (220 lbs.), a feat which he accomplished in 1911. Vasseur was also a great track and field athlete who excelled in the throwing events, especially the discus, in which he set a French professional record with a throw of 41.6 meters in 1912.
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.