Orville Stamm – The Boy Hercules

Posted on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 by John Wood
A top vaudeville attraction for several decades, Orville Stamm, who performed as “The Boy Hercules” possessed many talents. He would often sing a rendition of “Ireland Must Be Heaven, Because My Mother Came from There” to the accompaniment of a piano which he happened to be supporting in the “Tomb Of Hercules.”

Stamm could also tear a deck of cards into quarters, played the violin with his 66-pound bulldog Tige tied to the wrist of his bow arm, lifted a horse with one hand, and performed acrobatic feats ~ Sounds like quite a show! Stamm learned the strongman arts as a member of the Los Angeles Athletic Club and a student of Al Treloar.

During World War I, Orville Stamm also served as physical instructor to the Navy and one of his students was president-to-be Franklin D. Roosevelt. After FDR was elected, Orville and his wife Martha were often guests at the Whitehouse for tea.

William Pagel

Posted on Tuesday, December 26th, 2017 by John Wood
The German Strongman William Pagel used to perform an amazing feat of strength: carrying a 1050-pound horse to the top of two 18-foot ladders by the use of a harness. Even more amazing was that he did this for 10 shows a day. Notably, Pagel could clean 225 pounds with one arm, jerk it to arm’s length and while holding it aloft, lay down flat on the ground and then return to a standing position, barbell still overhead. Pagel was also a great wild animal trainer.
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.

Paul Baillargeon

Posted on Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 by John Wood
I have said many times that Arthur Saxon’s records would never be broken… and they won’t be… but the man who has come the closest was Paul Baillargeon of the famed Baillargeon Brothers of Quebec. These six brothers were all incredible wrestlers and strength athletes who toured their native Canada and the US taking on all comers.

Paul, shown here, who was quite possibly the strongest of the brothers, often lifted a horse as the finale of their strength performances. This picture shows him officially bent-pressing a barbell loaded to 321 pounds, a feat which he achieved on May 11, 1951, in front of Harry B. Paschall and other reliable witnesses at the Apollo Health Studio in Columbus, Ohio.

Paul Baillargeon actually did succeed in bent-pressing 375 pounds in practice a few times but never under official conditions.

Yet Another Way to Lift a Horse

Posted on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 by John Wood
George Jagendorfer demonstrates one of the many ways that he lifted a horse while performing for Hengler’s Circus in the 1890’s. You have to have a pretty strong set of choppers for this one.
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.

Vintage Milo Barbell Company Advertisement

Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 by John Wood

Vintage Milo Barbell Company Advertisement

Here’s a look at a vintage ad for the Milo Barbell Company circa 1920. Read the words carefully. Interestingly enough, the messages of proper training and necessity for good equipment have not changed one bit over the last hundred years.
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.

Milo Barus

Posted on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 by John Wood

Milo Barus

Milo Barus was Germany’s greatest strongman in the time period between the World Wars.  Barus performed a number of spectacular strength feats in his act: Nail Driving, The Human Chain, Teeth Lifting, Steel Bending, Harness Lifting, The “Leg Press”, Horse Lifting etc. Here, he has a crowd of ten people bend a heavy steel bar over his head (which sure doesn’t look comfortable.)

In 1983, a movie was made about his life. Today, a strength competition in his honor takes place in front of his old house at Mühltal Eisenberge and the winner receives the “Milo Barus Cup. Press clipping list Barus at seven feet tall, though it’s hard to tell by the photos if that is the case.

Don Athaldo

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

Don Athaldo - Australian Strongman

he land down under has had its fair share of great strongmen and one of the most well known was Don Athaldo from New South Wales. Athaldo (born Walter Joseph) overcame a sickly childhood and injuries incurred during World War I to become a circus strongman. Athaldo had a flair for performing, often donning tiger-skin outfits, gladiator boots and a fiery red cape. Athaldo performed a number of unusual feats, including carrying a horse up a ladder with the use of a harness and supporting an automobile in the “leg press” position. Athaldo also wrote a number of training courses which were very well received.
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.

Signor Lawanda, The Iron Jawed Man

Posted on Saturday, December 24th, 2011 by John Wood

Signor Lawanda - The Iron Jawed Man

Signor Lawanda, born Hugh David Evans in Bethlehem, PA, was the possessor of one of the strongest jaws of all time.  Rightfully billed as “The Iron Jawed Man” Lawanda famously lifted a barrel filled with water then allowed as many as four men to sit astride it.  Lawanda could also bite silver dollars in half, and caught P.T. Barnum’s eye when he lifted a 1400 pound horse via a harness clenched in his teeth.  Needless to say, training for these unusual types of feats also led to unusual development in the musculature of Lawanda’s neck and jaws.