Dimitrios Tofalos

Posted on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 by John Wood
Dimitrios Tofalos, Greek Weightlifting Champion
Demetrius Tofalos was a Greek weightlifter who survived a serious childhood
injury and went on to defeat the great Austrian lifter Josef Steinbach to win the Gold Medal at the 1906 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The winning effort for Tofalos in the “two-hand barbell lift” (i.e. clean and jerk) was 142.4 Kilograms.

t really was a “clean” and jerk, according to the rules of the time, lifters were penalized if the barbell touched any other part of the body as
they brought it to their chest. Tofalos’ record stood for the next eight years.

Tofalos was also a very successful professional wrestler although a defeat by American Champion Frank Gotch forced his retirement. Tofalos eventually went on to manage “The Golden Greek” Jim Londos.

Today, a sports arena is named in Tofalos’ honor in his hometown of Patras, Greece.

Unknown Strongman #3

Posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 by John Wood

Unknown Strongman #3

Unknown Strongman #3… We’ll never know his name but he has some sweet weights. Based on his attire, it looks like he may have been a wrestler as well.
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.

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.

The Iron Master Dumbbell

Posted on Sunday, February 12th, 2012 by John Wood
From 1989 to 2000, Osmo Kiiha published “THE IRON MASTER” one of the most informative periodicals ever produced on the history of strength training. What made this publication stand out from anything before or since was the focus on training — every issue focused on one or more of the all-time greats but it wasn’t just talk, there was always a number of workouts included so that readers could learn exactly how the champs trained.

At one point, Osmo decided to create a further link to the past by coming out with his own classic equipment. He created a series of globe barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells which were reminiscent of the kind of equipment that the MILO Barbell Company had produced a century before. The “Iron Master” Dumbbell is shown above.

Like the MILO models, these had hollow globes which could be filled either with shot or loaded with smaller plates through the handle. They were cast in either aluminum or steel and were machined, one at a time, by hand ~ true works of art.

The Milo Barbell Company Showroom, circa 1915

Posted on Saturday, January 21st, 2012 by John Wood

The Milo Barbell Company, circa 1915

A look at one corner of Alan Calvert’s MILO Barbell Company showroom circa 1915… Globe barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells as far as the eye can see. That must have been a great place to train… Many performing strongmen of the era commissioned Calvert to make special stage ‘bells for their act.
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.

Professor Attila

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 by John Wood

Professor Louis Attila

Professor Attila — real name Louis Durlacher — was the mentor of Eugen Sandow and the man who invented many of the feats of strength that we know of today: The Roman Column, The Roman Chair, supporting feats in the human bridge position and tearing packs of playing cards. It was Attiila’s idea to make globe barbells and dumbbells shot-loadable so that their weight could be adjusted. Attila invented the bent-press and was the first man to perform the lift with over 200 pounds.

In 1894, Professor opened his famous Studio of Physical Culture in downtown New York city and it became a hotbed for learning the strongman trade. In addition to Sandow, Professor Attila could list many other famous strongmen among his students: Warren Lincoln Travis, Anthony Barker, Horace Barre, Arthur Dandurand, Lionel Strongfort, George Rolandow, Louis Cyr, Bobby Pandour and Adolph Nordquest.

Attila’s daughter, Grace, later married Sig Klein.

Karl Abs ~ The German Oak

Posted on Thursday, November 17th, 2011 by John Wood

Karl Abs, Holding a Globe Barbell

Karl Abs, known as “The German Oak” was the first man in Germany to continental and jerk 330 pounds… he accomplished this feat back in 1885. Abs also won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in 1894.
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.

Jean Francois LeBreton

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2011 by John Wood

French Strongman Jean Francois LeBreton lifts a Globe Dumbbell overhead

Jean Francois LeBreton was the lightweight lifting champion of France in the early 1900’s. One of his greatest lifts was a one-arm dumbbell swing of 200 pounds which was made at a body weight of 200 pounds… an achievement which puts him among the strongest of all time in this lift.

Fred Winters

Posted on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011 by John Wood

Fred Winters

Fred Winters, of the New Westside Athletic Club of New York, won the Silver Medal in the Dumbell Lifting portion of the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri. The competition consisted of nine individual dumbbell lifting events with the tenth event being an original feat of strength of the competitor’s choice.

Above is the result of Section #6 of the contest “Pushing up slowly one dumbbell with one hand from the shoulder to arm’s length above the shoulder” which Mr. Winters won with a lift of 126-1/2 pounds.

Fred was in the lead after the all dumbbell events and for his choice feat he performed six one-arm pushups with 105 extra pounds of weight strapped to his back… An impressive feat, but only good enough for second place.