William H. Thwaites

Posted on Sunday, December 23rd, 2012 by John Wood

William H. Thwaites, from Plumstead, Kent, shows off a 150 lb. one-arm snatch and his outstanding training equipment, about 1901.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Professor Anthony Barker’s Strength-Maker Bar-Bell System

Posted on Sunday, December 16th, 2012 by John Wood

Ptofessor Barker's Strength Maker Var-Bell System

A look at a vintage advertisement for Professor Anthony Barker’s Strength-Maker Bar-Bell System. The set was rather ingenious, the handles could be unscrewed from the globes which could then be filled with shot to adjust the weight. From just a few pieces of equipment, one could train with either a barbell, a dumbbell or a pair of kettlebells. It should also be noted that The $15.00 price tag equates to over $400 in today’s money.

Professor Attila’s Studio of Physical Culture

Posted on Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 by John Wood

Professor Attila's Studio of Physical Culture

In 1893, professor Louis Attila opened the doors to the finest gym ever established before or since. Behold “Professor Attila’s Physical Culture Studio.” The above shot was actually the second location, Attila moved his gym in 1898 to a location on 37th street in midtown Manhattan. Needless to say, whenever any professional strongmen performed in New York, they always made a point to stop by Attila’s place.

1924 Olympic Globe Barbells

Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 by John Wood

1924 Olympic Globe Barbells

In the early Olympic games, the athletes had the choice of using plate-loaded barbells or shot-loaded globe barbells. Shown here is the selection of weights for the 1924 Olympic games in Paris, France, the last time that this choice was available.  The great French champion Charles Rigoulot won the Gold medal in the heavyweight class, and, interestingly, was the only lifter who chose to compete with the shot loaded globe barbells.


Dr. Rouhet’s Weights

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 by John Wood

Dr. Georges Rouhet, French Physical Culture

Shown is the famous French physical culturalist Dr. Georges Rouhet and some of his fantastic training equipment. Having been at this for a while now, our conclusion is that the French Strongmen had the best equipment available to train with. Also of note are the French blockweights in the foreground.

French Weightlifting Club, circa 1906

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2012 by John Wood

FRench Weightlifting Club, 1906

A rare look at a French weightlifting club, and their awesome training equipment, circa 1906.  One thing is for sure about the French lifters: they certainly had plenty of style.  Their equipment is basic: globe barbells, globe dumbbells, block weights, chest expanders etc, but undoubtedly more than enough to get it done.  Note the Sandow poster on the back wall. The president, Msr. Gustave Dechelpretre sits in the center.

Harry Shafran’s Gym

Posted on Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by John Wood

Harry Shafran's Gym

Think you could get a pretty good workout here? …A unique look at some of the equipment once belonging to Harry Shafran and housed in his great gym. Much of what is shown here was previously owned by Warren Lincoln Travis. Some of this equipment has a very interesting story since the time this picture was taken… part of which will be covered in The Dellinger Files Volume II.

German Kettlebell Club, 1903

Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2012 by John Wood

German Kettlebell CLub, 1903
A look at a German kettlebell club from the turn of the last century and a selection of their awesome equipment.  German strength athletes were particularly fond of juggling their kettlebells, hence “German” kettlebells had much larger and more pronounced handles.  Also of note is the fact that most of the barbells have thick handles.

Ahmed Madrali ~ “The Terrible Turk”

Posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 by John Wood

Ahmed Madrali, The Terrible Turk, lifts a large kettlebell.  Two globe barbells are at his feet.

Ahmed Madrali was actually the second well-known wrestler with the nickname “The Terrible Turk” (The first being Yusuf İsmail about a decade prior.) In one of the biggest matches of the time, on January 30, 1904, Ahmed Madrali took on “The Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt at Olympia Hall in London, England. Anticipation for this match was high… not only were these two great competitors, there was also more than a little bit of bad blood as Madrali was managed by Antonio Pierri, who Hackenschmidt had previously defeated in 1902.

A record crowd of 20,000 people were in attendance (which also caused the largest traffic jam ever recorded up to that time.) Unfortunately the match did not end decisively… less than a minute after opening bell Madrali dislocated his elbow after being “thrown” by Hackenschmidt and could not continue. Though not ideal, this victory put Hackenschmidt’s name on the map in the wrestling world and increased his fame considerably.

Also, fortunately, Madrali’s injury was not serious and he was back wrestling again three months later. In 1905, Madrali made up for this defeat by winning the wrestling championship of southern France defeating “The German Oak” Ernest Siegfried. As evident in this rare picture taken from around that time, “The Terrible Turk” was also clearly a big fan of kettlebell training.

The Lille Athletic Club, 1901

Posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2012 by John Wood

The Lille Athletic Club, 1901

rance was a center of physical training activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  This was due in large part to Professor Edmond Desbonnet who founded his school of physical culture in his home town of Lille, in northern France. Here’s a look the members of the Lille Athletic Club, circa 1901, with some of their classic equipment: globe barbells and dumbbells, chest expanders and blockweights etc. Desbonnet himself is pictured at the far right.