P.S. This course in full is posted in The Iron League.
Gough performed feats of strength in carnivals, fairs and vaudeville houses all over the country. In addition to “traditional” strongman feats such as The Human Link, Nail Driving, and bar bending, Gough came up with many of his own including dangling from a rope tied to an airplane by his teeth, with a 50 pound weight in each hand, biting keys in half, and juggling a 300-pound anvil!
One of his many adventures was to perform feats of strength as publicity stunts for the Louisville, Kentucky-based Oertel Brewing Company which is the origin of the ‘Barrel’ barbell pictured here.
Brown could also lift a car from the side and would let a motorcycle drive over his neck as a part of his act…he is thought to be the first man to pull a bus with his teeth. Brown was also clearly a big fan of chest expanders.
Here’s a clipping from the Chicago News, October 22nd, 1923, showing Breitbart demonstrating his nail driving ability — pounding a nail through a one-inch thick oak board with nothing but his bare hand.
Nail Driving is one of the classical strongman feats, one that not only wows ’em every time but also one that builds tremendous strength in the shoulder and upper body. Several “oldtime” boxers actually practiced nail driving in order to build striking power.