In 1896, amateur strength specialist Franz Föttinger of Vienna performed a remarkable feat. He had two large wooden blocks attached to each other with a cord. The lower block also had some additional weights attached to it. On the top of the upper block, an ordinary needle was stuck; less than an inch of needle projected above the wood. Grasping the needle with his thumb and forefinger only, Föttinger managed to lift 28-1/2 pounds in the above manner. Föttinger was 59 years of age at the time and reported that he had been working on this feat for over five years.
A look a the Vindobona Athletic club (Vienna) and some of their excellent training equipment, circa 1900. Their most famous member, the great strongman and wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko, sits front and center.