The year was 1930, and a young fellow named Bob Hoffman, began his oil burner business at 51 North Broad Street, in York, Pennsylvania. In the early days, the bottom floor sold heating equipment and the top floor was devoted to Hoffman’s other passion: weightlifting. Eventually, the barbell business won out and a new chapter in U.S. Weightlifting history was born. At the time of this photograph, the bottom floor was the home office of Strength & Health magazine and the right side of the building was where barbells and dumbbells were packed and shipped. In 1958, the York Barbell Company moved to a new location on North Ridge Avenue.
Besides being a a great Olympic lifter (10x National Champion in the 126 lb. class) Art Levan, of Reading, Pennsylvania, was also a master of several unusual feats of strength as well. Here’s Art hanging by his teeth with a 70-pound kettlebell in each hand.
Edward “Spike” Howard, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (unsurprisingly) earned his nickname thanks to his ability to bend and break spikes. A former Vaudeville strongman for many years, Howard is shown above breaking a chain with chest expansion. Performing feats of strength was actually not his only specialty: Howard also donated blood well over 1000 times which is also thought to be some kind of record.
A look at the great American weightlifter Bill Good in the midst of harness lifting the equally famous Good Dumbbell. circa 1934. Good, a Reamstown, Pennsylvania, native was a seven-time National weightlifting Champion (1930-1935, 1937) and competed in the 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games. Good liked to celebrate his birthday each year by harness lifting the 2150 lb. Good Dumbbell for as many repetitions as the number of years of his age, a feat he kept up until he was 90.