Now THAT’S a Kettlebell! …Antonio Clevio Massimo Sabatino, professionally known as Clevio Massimo, was born in Opi Labruza, Italy in 1895. When only a small boy he immigrated into the US and made Buffalo, New York his home. Shortly after finishing high school, Clevio Massimo toured the country performing strongman feats, hand balancing, adagio dancing and muscle control and for a time, even ventured into professional wrestling. You can find out more about Clevio Massimo in The Mark Berry Bar Bell Courses.
Edwin Zello, of Platt’s Valley, Nebraska is shown here with a one-finger deadlift of well over 400 pounds. Zello performed many traditional strongman feats around the turn of the century, and so did his wife Alice, who was also part of the act, and quite a performer herself. Also of note is that Zello once wrestled George Hackenschmidt to a draw in an exhibition match in Canada.
John J. Hajnos, originally from California, became a professional strongman after serving in the Navy in World War I. He performed a number of traditional feats but his most well-known is pictured here, supporting a fellow officer (in this case J.F. Kaska, who weighed 175 pounds) seated in a chair clenched between his jaws – an incredible test of balance as well as neck/jaw strength. Hajnos was a student of Lionel Strongfort’s “Strongfortism” system and actually once defeated Warren Lincoln Travis at an impromptu contest held at Coney Island.
Pat Povilaitis, “The Human Vise”, is a modern strongman and one of the few human beings who can stand toe-to-toe with many of the oldtime greats. As you can likely tell by his moniker, “The Human Vise” excels at Steel Bending: spikes, nails, horse shoes, frying pans – no piece of steel is safe in his hands! Pat also likes to do combo feats, usually bending something with a 300+ pound stone in his lap!
We couldn’t find much in our files about Mr. Barletti but the one thing we do know is that he liked to lift horses as a part of his act. He most likely copied this feat from Sandow, and I’d be willing to bet it wasn’t exactly done on stage like it is pictured here.
Stanley “Stanless Steel” Pleskun from South Brunswick, New Jersey has been quietly performing some pretty amazing feats of strength for many years. He can lift over 600 pounds with one finger, break chains, drive nails, lever sledge hammers and, incredibly, bend a penny with his bare hands. Stanless attributes his great strength to the ability to harness the power of his own mind.