Another steel bender with an unknown past… at least we know his name, or at least the name listed on the photo: Pierre Ferechtauoff. Mr. Ferechtauoff is shown here scrolling a steel bar with the aid of his choppers. Something tells me that he might have also been a wrestler.
We haven’t found much so far about Hary Berti. He was a German strength athlete, likely active in the 1920’s-30’s who was billed as “das wunder menschlicher kraft” (“the miracle of human power”). Here he is bending a steel bar.
Flemish Strongman John Massis led an incredibly colorful life: Born in Bruges in 1940, by 19 years of age, Massis was already appearing on television as a strength prodigy. He bent steel bars and other traditional strongman feats but was most famous for his jaw strength. Massis lifted cars, stopped motorbikes and even once pulled two Long Island passenger cars, weighing 80 tons to get himself into the Guinness Book of World Records. Feats of strength were only part of Massis’ amazing accomplishments: he also recorded several hit songs, funded his own political party, founded a circus, and appeared in several films. Later on, a musical was written about his life.
Ivan Orloff, of Siberia, Russia, was a mid-card pro wrestler in the early 20th century who was quite prolific, he wrestled well into the 1940’s. Later on, he became a promoter. Orloff was billed as 6’2 and 210 pounds of wiry muscle — he was also adept at bending steel bars.
A few years back Dennis Rogers performed in Detroit and gave me the piece of steel he bent into a pretzel shape during the show. If you look closely you can see that it is dated 11/06/2005 and signed by Dennis.
In addition to his training courses and strength performances, Siegmund Breitbart also created some of his own training equipment. To work on his steel scrolling he devised this “muscle builder” apparatus, a series of flexible pieces of steel with a handle on either end. This setup allowed for a number of unique training movements similar to traditional steel bending as well as the ability to adjust resistance by adding or subtracting bands.