Here’s a rare look at a German weightlifting team circa 1904, and below, a closer look at their outstanding equipment. As was standard for the time period, the kettlebells had large, open handles as they were frequently used for juggling.
A Russian Strongman Circus Poster from 1899 – heavy one arm supports… horse lifting… stone breaking (by sledge hammer AND fist)… kettlebell juggling… where do I get my tickets?
>Gustav Wain was a German strongman who performed in several circuses in the early 1900’s. As you can see by this rare poster, one of the signature portions of his act involved juggling a kettlebell whilst blindfolded.
A look at a German Sport club, circa 1903. As for their equipment, as was the custom with German-style kettlebells, the handles were large and open to enable juggling… the barbells also appear to have thick handles, which encourage grip and forearm development.
A look at a German weightlifting club, circa 1915 and a rather large selection of their truly excellent training equipment. This club was clearly a big fan of kettlebell training. The large, squared handles would indicate that they did a lot of kettlebell juggling. Look close and you’ll see at least one, possibly two rotating barbell sets – a rarity for the time.
A rare shot of a German weightlifting club and their classic equipment, taken around 1919. Also notice the particularly large and wide handles on their kettlebells. This style of handle served a specific purpose as the German strength athletes were particularly fond of juggling and throwing and catching their kettlebells.