Professor Louis Attila

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Professor Attila 

From “Mighty Men of Old” Vol. I (n.d.) (Author unknown)

Professor Attila

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“The man who originated globe barbells, the bent press, the Roman chair, the Roman column, the art of tearing playing cards and discoverer of Sandow was Louis Attila, known as “The Professor”.  He was born in Karlsruhe, Germany in 1844.

He was the first man to bent press over 200 pounds.  He was much ridiculed for performing the peculiar lift and his contemporaries call it the “Screw Press” (by which name is still known in Germany).  They said a man could never lift much in the manner which they called nothing but a balancing trick but along came Sandow with a lift of 271, then the Canadian Cyr was 273, then the Master, Saxon with 371.

Attila came to America and founded his famous studio in New York City in 1894.  He was very active and lived to the ripe old strong man’s age of 80.  Siegmund Klein married his charming daughter and carried on the Attila tradition in his renowned gymnasium at Times Square.  The Professor’s wife 40 years his junior is still living.

Should anyone ever doubt that Louis Attila deserved the title of “Professor”, look then at this roster of strong men he trained: Warren Lincoln Travis, Lionel Strongfort, George Rolandow, Titus Barker, Pandour, Cyr, Barres, Dandurand, Adolph Nordquest and “Gentleman Jim” Corbett, world’s heavy weightlifting boxing champion!  To his famous health studio came J. Pierpont Morgan, Alfred Vanderbilt, Lord Lonsdale, Baron Rothschild, By Royal Appointment he was physical instructor to His Majesty King Edward of England, King Christian of Denmark, King Haakon of Norway, King George of Greece, Queen Mother Alexandra of England and the ill-fated Czarina of Russia. The modest Attila deigned to remain in the background, never seeking publicity for he had “built a better mousetrap and the world beat a path to his door,” but modern strength athlete owe more to this man than to any other. 

© Mighty Men of Old

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