The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

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Handson
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by Handson » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:19 pm

Peter

I note that you mention in your comments a time interval up to the 1960s. I wonder if that’s because you were thinking what I was.

A cynic might say that to trespass into dates much beyond the late 1950s perhaps the very early 1960s in assessing physical elegance is fraught with controversy over bodybuilders and athletes who have been prepared to juggle with their tombstones by training with a dumbell in one hand and a hypodermic in the other.

Arguably it would it is as inappropriate as assessing grossly distorted silicone-enhanced bimbos versus ‘naturals' in a beauty contest.

Handson

peter yates
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by peter yates » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:48 pm

Hi Handson,
yes that is a factor as from then on it becomes increasingly blurred as to who was or who was not chemically assisted. On the other hand this was a time when bodybuilders became less likely to do weightlifting or hand-balancing etc. and lifters less likely to incorporate bodybuilding or hand-balancing etc. Also with the emerging sport of powerlifting specialization on one or the other became more common and continued from then on with less all round strength athletes as a result.
Regards,Peter.
Peter Yates

sticksb
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by sticksb » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:02 pm

Interesting posts . Current HC bodybuilding is on the decline via attendance
promotion , publication . No history or romance connected with it as it was in the distant past .
Not much chance of reliving the past as it's all about making money today instead of promoting
a life style .

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Harry Hayfield
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by Harry Hayfield » Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:15 am

At the close of nominations, the following were duly nominated:

Heinrich Steinborn (GER)
Alan Meade (GBR)
Earle Liederman (USA)
Charles Atlas (ITA)

These nominees will be profiled from February 9th until the 20th when the polls will open until the 27th with the winner being declared on the 28th
"Great heavens, what is there to adulate in me? Am I particularly intelligent, or remarkably studious, or excruciatingly witty, or unusually accomplished, or exceptionally virtuous?"
(The Duke of Dunstable, Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan)

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Harry Hayfield
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by Harry Hayfield » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am

Heinrich Steinborn (GER)

Born in what is now Germany in 1894, Heinrich grew up near Dusseldorf. During the First World War he wound up in British captivity and was sent to Australia where he devised a training system involving dumbbells made out of slabs of stone and hard wooden bars. When the war was formally ended in 1919, he was released and returned to Germany. In 1921 Heinrich Steinborn emigrated to the United States, where he first stopped in Philadelphia and began a career as a professional strongman. One of his tricks, a statement of his own admission, was to be run over by a car. He protected himself by having a pair of thick planks over his chest which the car used as a track to run over his chest (a trick repeated several decades later by Tom Owen, who allowed trucks to run over his abs). At the 1920 German Weightlifting Championships held in Stuttgart, he came second in the heavyweight class behind Karl Morke who scorede a total of 557½kg. His amateur record was: 99kg (single arm snatch), 120kg (two handed press) and 251½kg (squat)

By the mid 1920's Heinrich was now calling himself either Henry or Milo turned to the Freestyle Wrestling circuit but never left his strongman roots demonstrating a lift he called the "elephant back" as opposed to the piggy back in 1950 when at the World's Fair in Chicago he gave a 400kg elephant a piggy back ride through the streets. In 1952 he became a US citizen and opened a gym in Orlando that is still in operation to this day. He was still lifting quite late in life doing 140kg squats well into his eighties. He died in 1989 at the age of 95 in Orlando.

Alan Meade (GBR)
Alan Meade served in the British army during the First World War and during that conflict suffered what, for many, would have been a life changing injury. His leg was blown off below the kneecap, yet despite this Alan went on to become a famous bodybuilder. One record of his performance on the stages read:
When I first saw his pictured I noticed that he had the rare ability to display cross ridges in some of his muscles - just as though a long muscle was composed of circular cross sections strung together. He can even make his biceps take on a corrugated appearance when flexed; and in many of the photos of his back, the muscles alongside the spine appear as cables with parallel ridges...He must, for instance, flex the lower sections right above the hip bones (pelvis), relax that section, harden the section next above, and so on; thus giving the impression that the muscles are moving, although he stands with his back flat and his spine straight. And, of course, after the top section has been contracted he can reverse the process, and make the flexed part of the muscles descend rapidly from the shoulder blades to the waist line.
But he was also more than interesed in passing his knowledge on. This was demonstrated when after he lost the world record on the front chest pull, the person who had claimed the record challenged anyone in the audience to have a go. A young man did and did 15 reps of the new world record. This intrigued Alan and so taking the young man to one side asked him about his training. Five days later, a 225lb dumbell and barbell set arrived at the young man's house with a note from Alan containing a training schedule and a promise that he too would become the world's strongest man

Earle Liederman (USA)
Inspired by Eugene Sandow, who he went into business with later in life, Earle was a publisher and creator of numerous mail order bodybuilding courses. These courses would be the foundation of the careers of such luminaries as Arthur Hyson and George Jowett. Following the second World War he became the editor of Muscle Power magazine and wrote numerous articles on the subject

Charles Atlas (ITA)
Angelo Siciliano (his real name) was born in Acri, Italy in 1892 and moved to New York in 1903 to be apprenticed as a leather worker. He tried many forms of exercise initially, using weights, pulley-style resistance, and gymnastic-style calisthenics but claimed that they did not build his body. Inspired by other fitness and health advocates who preceded him, including world-renowned strongman Eugen Sandow and Bernarr MacFadden (a major proponent of "Physical Culture") but too poor to join the local YMCA, he watched how exercises were performed, then performed them at home. He was a regular attender of the strongman shows at Coney Island, and would question the strongmen about their diets and exercise regimens after the show as well as reading Physical Culture magazine for further information on health, strength, and physical development, and finally developed his own system of exercises which was later called 'Dynamic Tension,' a phrase coined by Charles Roman. His inspiration came full circle in 1921 when he was dubbed "America's Most Handsome Man" by Benarr and in 1922 was officially crowned "America's Most Perfectly Developed Man" at a contest in Madison Square Gardens. In the same year he changed his name to Charles Atlas and published his fitness regime inspired by the tale of a 97 pound weakling who had sand kicked in his face (a tale that he said actually happened to him).

At the same time he was a model for both film and artists with his likeness being used as the base for the Washington at Peace statue (1918) in Washington Square Arch, Dawn of Glory (1924) in Brooklyn as well as Alexander Hamilton (1923) at the US Treasury Building in Washington DC.

The polls are now OPEN and will remain so until 0000 PDT on February 28th 2019. Please case your votes by stating who is your first preference and then who is your second preference.
"Great heavens, what is there to adulate in me? Am I particularly intelligent, or remarkably studious, or excruciatingly witty, or unusually accomplished, or exceptionally virtuous?"
(The Duke of Dunstable, Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan)

peter yates
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by peter yates » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:12 pm

Hi Harry,
to be honest they all deserve #1 as do many who are not named,but for the sake of it here are my choices.
#1 Alan Meade
#2 Milo Steinborn
#3 Atlas
#4 Liederman.
Peter Yates

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Internalfitness
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by Internalfitness » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:55 pm

#1 - Meade
#2 - Atlas

Richie.

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Harry Hayfield
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by Harry Hayfield » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:54 am

At the close of the polls, the first preferences were as follows:

Alan Meade 2, Heinrich Steinborn 0, Charles Atlas 0, Earle Liederman 0

I therefore declare Alan Meade as the best physical culturist of the 1920's and he will go through to the final in December.
"Great heavens, what is there to adulate in me? Am I particularly intelligent, or remarkably studious, or excruciatingly witty, or unusually accomplished, or exceptionally virtuous?"
(The Duke of Dunstable, Patience by Gilbert and Sullivan)

Handson
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by Handson » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:39 pm

Hi Peter

Hackenschmidt was good but one guy he kept ducking was the formidable wrestler Johann Lemm, aka John Lemm after becoming a naturalised Englishman.

I see that Lemm has been discussed on HOPC in another context.

John Lemm was one of the first to squat over 500lb and his physique suggests this with his tree trunk legs. He had the look of Ernest Cadine in stature.

He wrestled all comers who would accept the challenge often conceding a lot of bodyweight.

Two of his noteworthy bouts were against the much bigger Cornelius O'Kelly whom he defeated twice.

Some interesting info attached.
Regards Handson.
Attachments
Death of Cornelius O'Kelly.jpg
Death of Cornelius O'Kelly.jpg (96.49 KiB) Viewed 1837 times
I Don't Care Who it is Says Lemm..jpg
I Don't Care Who it is Says Lemm..jpg (313.85 KiB) Viewed 1837 times
John Lemm Wrestler.png
John Lemm Wrestler.png (452.84 KiB) Viewed 1837 times

peter yates
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Re: The Best Physical Culturists of the 1920's

Post by peter yates » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:15 pm

Hi Handson, thank you for once again providing some terrific information in the form of press cuttings. Yes Lemm certainly had a powerful physique, especially legs to rival even modern day bodybuilders. Interesting he mentions wrestling in Lancashire as i have read more than one account of the enthusiasm and standard of wrestling in that part of England. I can remember old timers talking of Sunday morning bouts on the local moors, where lads who fancied themselves would skip church and try their hand. Wagers took place and then everyone ended up in the pub for the 1 hour permitted Sunday opening.
Regards,Peter.
Peter Yates

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