The need for great equipment hasn’t changed much over the last hundred years which is why chest expanders work just as well today. This ad for Professor Anthony Barker, Herkules Exerciser originally appeared in 1910.
Professor Anthony Barker was a great Oldtime Strongman in the New York Area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He was also very proud of his fine head of hair – hair pulling or lifting was a favorite method of several oldtime strongmen for demonstrating strength and they could withstand quite a pull with no ill effects. As a side note, Barker lived to 106 years of age!
There are many rare courses out there and you never know what you might find on a trip back through the history of physical culture. Here’s an unusual one from Professor Anthony Barker: “Head-Standing For Perfect Health.” Written in 1922, it may seem a little counter-intuitive, but standing on your head does indeed have many health benefits. Maintaining an upside-down position increases blood flow to the brain, which is always a good thing, and it also allows the spine to decompress. Give it a try.
Kettlebells? They have a longer history in America than you might think… Case in point, this “Strength Maker” kettlebell, was produced by Professor Anthony Barker around 1910 or so. The “Strength Maker” was a set which consisted of two hollow globes and various handles. Depending on what you wanted to train with, you could screw in a short handle to make a dumbbell, a long handle to make a barbell, or the handle shown above to make a nifty pair of kettlebells. The globes were hollow and weight could be adjusted with shot as needed.