Pull the bell to the shoulders in one clean motion — same stye as in preparing to military press or jerk the weight. To fix the bell at the shoulders while leaning forward it is necessary that the elbows be inclined well forward. When the bell is in at the shoulders, place the feet in line, sixteen inches apart, the elbows well up, incline the body. well forward, and hold this position for two seconds. When the referee has given the signal, raise the trunk, bending it backward as far as possible, pushing the bell upward as strongly as you can; the back is bent as far back as possible until the bell is held overhead at arm’s length. When the arms are straight, raise the trunk, stand erect with the feet still on a line for the count.
From Weightlifting, by Bob Hoffman,
Published in 1939
Above: John Grimek continental pressing a 245 lb. globe barbell