The Kiruna (Sweden) Atletklubb, circa 1902, and their truly epic selection of kettlebells and globe barbells.
Kettlebells? They have a longer history in America than you might think… Case in point, this “Strength Maker” kettlebell, was produced by Professor Anthony Barker around 1910 or so. The “Strength Maker” was a set which consisted of two hollow globes and various handles. Depending on what you wanted to train with, you could screw in a short handle to make a dumbbell, a long handle to make a barbell, or the handle shown above to make a nifty pair of kettlebells. The globes were hollow and weight could be adjusted with shot as needed.
Sig Klein was talkin’ kettlebell training decades ago. He had kettlebells in his gym… he featured kettlebells in his training courses… he wrote articles about kettlebells in Strength and Health… Yet you don’t hear ol’ Sig’s name pop up much in modern kettlebell literature… Some of the experts need to do a little more homework.
Hans Steyrer: The Bavarian Hercules
“The Bavarian Hercules” Hans Steyrer is shown here with his signature lift: a one-finger lift of a heavy stone block, usually 500 pounds or more, combined with a muscle-out of a 50-pound kettlebell. Either one of these feats would be impressive by themselves, but doing them both at the same time put Steyrer in a league by himself. It should also be noted that Steyrer was the very first strongman ever photographed using kettlebells (at least to our knowledge.) This was around 1880 or so