Pierre Gasnier: The French Hercules

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2016 by John Wood

Pierre Gasnier was the quintessential Oldtime Strongman: BIlled as the “French Hercules,” He performed feats of strength for the Barnum and Bailey circus in the late 1890’s: tearing decks of cards, bending horseshoes, breaking chains, and lifting his special “challenge weight” globe dumbbell shown here.

The dumbbell had a handle of 2″ in diameter and weighs 236 French Livres (which equals 260 pounds) Gasnier weighed only 138 pounds at a height of 5’3″ yet was able to lift the weight with ease, a feat that such other noted strongmen of the day such as Sebastian Miller, Hans Beck, and Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski could not duplicate.

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