Another fantastic “oldtime muscle course” advertisement: in 1927, Fred Van Norstran gambled the price of a stamp, and sent away for the famed Lionel Strongfort “Strongfortism” course… a short time later he ended up as Montana’s strongest man. Not only that, but his daughter, Pearl, who watched her father engage in these physical training lessons, eventually followed suit and learned to perform amazing feats of strength in her own right.
“If you seek great muscular strength or just plain good health, STRONGFORTISM will show you the way!”
Lionel Strongfort(aka Max Unger) was one of the first mail order muscle kings and this is one of his advertisements from 1928.
His “Strongfortism” system, which involved mostly body weight movements and light dumbbells, was incredibly popular in the early 20th century. Strongfort was originally a pupil of Professor Attila.
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.