Here’s a classic shot of Warren Lincoln Travis performing the classic strength feat “The Human Link”. Although out of the frame, travis actually has a pair of horses looped over each elbow, and it’s all he can do to stop from being torn limb from limb!
Many strongmen performed The Human Link Feat but around 1920, The Amazing Samson upped the ante by a bunch. He not only held back a pair of draught horses, he also bent a steel bar over his leg at the same time! Amazing indeed. It should also probably be mentioned that he attempted this feat as a result of a bet.
The Mighty Young Apollo — A.K.A. Paul Anderson from Melbourne, Australia performed many unusual feats during his colorful career. He was fond of the Human Link Feat, letting cars and trucks run over him, and pulling railroad cars with his teeth. He once let an eight ton elephant stand on his chest! One of his feats — “The Bridge of Death” involved taking a wrestler’s bridge position whilst two men with heavy sledge hammers smashed a piece of granite on his chest, oh, and a hunting knife was placed on the ground below him with the blade at his heart! He made it through though, the Mighty Young Apollo actually was still performing amazing feats into his 80’s. Here he is bending a steel bar in his teeth.
Tullus Wright, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, traveled the country in the late 1800’s, performing in fairs and carnivals as “The American Sampson”. Wright performed a number of traditional feats of strength but his specialty was The Human Link as shown here at “Chas Lee’s Great Museum of Living Wonders,” circa 1892.
In March of 1925, Hans Kavan “The Austrian Hercules” noted wrestler and sometimes strongman performed this “human link” feat to win a wager. Kavan was thankfully not torn asunder with two horses on each arm, pulling in opposite directions. Kavan had a brother named Franz who was also a decent wrestler. (That’s right, Hans and Franz from Austria was a real thing!)
There has been a long tradition of Canadian Strongmen, one that you probably haven’t heard of is Gaston Heon of Quebec. Heon performed standard feats such as phone book tearing, the human link and having a large rock broken on his chest with a sledge hammer… but he also performed several unusual — and somewhat dangerous — feats, such as allowing himself to be run over by a car traveling 40 miles per hour(!) and this backlift/support of a 3000 pound automobile.