Otis Lambert

Posted on Monday, February 12th, 2018 by John Wood
Otis Lambert, was a staple on the Vaudeville circuit for years. He achieved his greatest fame while partnered with Adolph Nordquest. One of Lambert’s greatest feats was to perform a Get-Up Lift while holding Nordquest aloft, plus a 25-pound dumbbell – a total weight of 220 pounds.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

John Holtum: The Cannon-Ball King

Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017 by John Wood
John Holtum, originally of Denmark, was aptly known as “The Cannon-ball King” from his act where he actually did catch a cannon ball fired from a real cannon. This took a bit of practice though, he had a couple fingers blown off the first few times he tried it. After catching the cannon-ball, Holtum would once again load the projectile into the cannon and hit a target some yards away, showing everything was on the level. It was said that the cannon he used was a relic from the Crimenan War.

In addition to his cannon-ball catching feat, Holtum’s performance also consisted of various strength feats which usually involved either lifting, balancing or juggling cannon balls. Remarkably, Holtum retired from the cannon-ball catching business on his own terms without serious injury, and later partnered with his brother Fred to become successful wine merchants.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Tullus Wright – The American Sampson

Posted on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017 by John Wood
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.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Henri Toch – “The Cannon Man”

Posted on Sunday, October 8th, 2017 by John Wood
Henri Toch was a Belgian strongman in the late 1800’s who was billed as “L’Homme Canon” or “The Cannon Man.” It was with pretty good reason, his unique performance included the incredible strength feat of holding 365 Kilogram Cannon on his shoulders while it fired. Toch met an unfortunate end in 1890 when when a cannon on his shoulder was accidentally mis-loaded with powder and blew up.

“The Brooklyn Strongboy” In Action

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2017 by John Wood
A look at “The Brooklyn Strongboy” Charles Phelan in action in mid-two-hands-anyhow with an excellent globe barbell and kettlebell. Phelan held five world records in his day: a one-finger lift of 506 pounds, a 700 pound lift with two fingers, a hand and thigh lift of 1125 pounds, a hip lift of 1600 pounds and a backlift of 2500 pounds. Phelan learned the strongman arts from none other than Warren Lincoln Travis.

George Levasseur

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 2017 by John Wood
George Levasseur was the strongman for the Ringling Bros. Circus in the early 20th century. Here he is bending a horse shoe, circa 1905.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Dennis Rogers

Posted on Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 by John Wood
At 5’6″ and 168 pounds, Dennis Rogers does not fit the mold of the typical strongman but he can perform feats that have to be seen to be believed. Here he shows a steel bar that he has just bent into a pretzel shape. Dennis has many unique training methods and has agreed to share many of them with us. Stay tuned…
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

“The American Hercules” Edwin F. Morrison

Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2014 by John Wood
Edwin F. Morrison was a talented strongman whose exploits were nearly lost to the sands of time. He is shown here on the cover of the January, 1905 issue of the early French magazine La Vie Au Grand Air which often had features on strongmen, weight lifting and wrestling. Morrison’s relative obscurity is likely due to the fact that he performed mostly in Europe, with engagements at Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague and the Royal Aquarium in London, England during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Morrison’s specialty was breaking chains by flexing his arm, by chest expansion or a powerful blow of the first. He could bend pennies and shillings with his fingers and easily ripped multiple decks of cards at once. (As seen above, his card tearing prowess will haunt your dreams at night.)

Morrison also could walk across a stage supporting a platform loaded with sixteen people and could bent-press 336 pounds, a fact which was loudly announced in public to be 18 pounds greater than Sandow’s record. Morrison challenged the great Sandow to a match seventeen times but Sandow never did take him up on his offer.

Fred W. Mines

Posted on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 by John Wood

Who the heck is Fred W. Mines? Nobody you have probably ever heard of. He was a small-time strongman who performed at county fairs and carnivals in the Florida and Georgia areas in the late 1930’s. Don’t let his amateur status fool you though, this feat is a lot more more impressive than it might seem, balancing this unique barbell (made of an automobile drive shaft and two reinforced concrete globes) in his teeth.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Charles A. Sampson, The Chain Breaker

Posted on Friday, June 6th, 2014 by John Wood

We’ve covered Charles A. Sampson before but here is another look at one of his signature feats: breaking a chain by striking a blow with his fists. Sampson claimed he developed his great strength after being struck by lightning as a young man, whether true or not, his development was still impressive. Sampson WAS a pioneer as far as performing strongmen are concerned, and quite literally set the stage for many who followed him.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2018 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.