Pierre Gasnier: The French Hercules

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016 by John Wood

Pierre Gasnier was the quintessential Oldtime Strongman: BIlled as the “French Hercules,” He performed feats of strength for the Barnum and Bailey circus in the late 1890’s: tearing decks of cards, bending horseshoes, breaking chains, and lifting his special “challenge weight” globe dumbbell shown here.

The dumbbell had a handle of 2″ in diameter and weighs 236 French Livres (which equals 260 pounds) Gasnier weighed only 138 pounds at a height of 5’3″ yet was able to lift the weight with ease, a feat that such other noted strongmen of the day such as Sebastian Miller, Hans Beck, and Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski could not duplicate.

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.

Cyclops and Sampson: The Strongest Men on Earth

Posted on Sunday, October 25th, 2015 by John Wood
A rare poster advertising the strongman duo of Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski and Charles A. Sampson. Sampson’s Harness Lift is highlighted.
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.

Franz ‘Cyclops’ Bienkowski

Posted on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 by John Wood

Franz Bienkowski, known professionally as ‘Cyclops,’ was the first lifter to introduce the bent press to Britain. His best performance in this lift was 250 pounds. Cyclops was a partner of Charles A. Sampson and rival to Sandow. Cyclops’ favorite feats though were breaking chains wrapped around his arms (shown here) as well as bending or breaking coins.
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.