Franz (Cyclops) Bienkowski

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Franz Bienkowski, (Cyclops) The Giant Pole

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

Franz Bienkowski
“FRANZ ‘CYCLOPS’ BIENKOWSKI, THE GIANT POLE, was said to have the strongest grip of any man on earth!  Certainly no one (actually there are only three others on record) could break coins as easily as he.  For years this feat was considered impossible, or if it was accomplished, old coins worn thin were used, yet Vansitart demonstrated at a strength show he could snap a franc in two! (A franc is larger than an American 25 cent piece but smaller than the half dollar.)  John Gruhn Marx and Noel were the other men said capable of breaking a coin, but Cyclops not only broke a few, he broke hundreds of coins, coins of all different countries, even the heavy English shilling broke under the pressure of his steel fingers.  He could burst a tennis ball with one hand and at lifting thick plates with only the pinch grip no man was his superior.

The match between Cyclops and Cyr had all the marks of an old time melodrama, where Cyclops, performing in Montreal during Cyr’s absence, boasted that he was the strongest man in the world and that Cyr had left town on learning that he, Cyclops would arrive and Cyr, breaking up his show in Worcester, Mass., taking the first train to Montreal to walk down the aisle of the theatre just as Cyclops was underrating the strength of Cyr.  But that is another story we will tell some other time.

Several of the coins Cyclops broke now rest in the world-famous strength museum of Prof. Desbonnet in Lille, France.

© Mighty Men of Old

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