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Author Topic: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries  (Read 73905 times)

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Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
« on: May 06, 2009, 11:07:18 am »
Iron Ladies
at the edge of XIX and XX centuries

Steel ladies of the old times



Since the XVI century, people admired powerful women performing stunts with weights in fairs and markets. Those strongwomen women carried weights hanging on their hair and played with heavy iron balls. They lay stiffly supporting their bodies horizontally by feet and back of the neck between two chairs while weights were loaded on them – the stunt performed by few strongmen. Later, "women cannons" appeared – a stunt where a heavy cannon shot while it was attached firmly to back of a strongwoman. Also there were women who threw heavy dumbbells, inviting men from the audience to repeat that, among which just few were capable even of moving the weight a little. Other women stopped a few horses by pulling a cord bound to them; they lifted cars, they tore a thick bunch of paper or telephone guides with their hands; they broke nails and doubled bars of iron; they danced a waltz with three men on their shoulders. Besides, it was popular show where a lady lifted and held a bunch of people.



A frequent spark in such spectacles consisted in inviting male spectators to compare theirs strength with that of the strongwoman, resulting always extensively surpassed by her. Undoubtedly, thousands of assistant men on these spectacles along all the epochs have seen like the sensation of shame did that their cheeks blushed (especially if they went accompanied by a lady).

In a London publication of 1724 it was announced that the famous "Female Italian Samson", in whose spectacle, among others demonstrations, being performed, a great block of marble of 900 or 1300 kilograms (two thousand or three thousand pounds) was placed on her and then, after bearing this weight for a while, she threw it to almost two meters of distance without using her arms. On December 19, 1751 a London daily announced a spectacle "Little Woman from Geneva", in which this woman was loaded with the weight of 5 or 6 men; also she was placed an iron anvil on her body, being later struck with a sledgehammer by two men. She demonstrated some other tests of strength as well. In 1754 there was an exhibition in Paris with stunts of strength performed by “Les Femmes Fortes” (strong women), who supported great weights on their stomachs while stretched supine with their heads on one chair and their feet on another.

Although there are earlier references to women of unusual strength, it was in the 1880’s when reports of strongwomen began to appear with regularity in sporting publications such as “Police Gazette”, a magazine which was a major influence in the development of the professional strongwomen in America.

Late XIX - Early XX centuries

Some of the most famous strongwomen’s names have remained over the course of the time. Here, we consider the best-known ones who performed at the edge of the centuries.

Miss Lala. Famous Miss Lala (Dega's painting is at left) performed strength acrobatic and trapeze acts throughout Europe in circuses, music halls, in the troupe called “Follies Bergere” (Mad Shepherds) between 1860s and late 1880s. She was also known as Olga, “Olga the Mulatto”, “Olga the Negress”, “The Cannon Woman” and "The African Princess”. She was painted by Edgar Degas in 1879 (Miss Lala au Cirque Fernando). A poster was done on her “Follies Bergere” performance in 1880 by Cheret and another poster was done in 1890 by Parisian lithographer Appel depicting Miss Lala performing with Troupe Kaira.



Madame Ali-Braco ("The woman-cannon"). This powerful woman (at right) worked in the circus world since 1875. She was an expert in acrobatics, but the most of her famous stunts was demonstrations of her strength with a cannon, which was placed on her shoulders. In the other action, she hung upside down leaning on a trapezium by her legs and lifting a heavy cannon held by the teeth (without using the hands).



Josephine Blatt (“Minerva”). Josephine Schauer was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, in 1869, and died on September 1, 1923 in her native town.  Having a height of 173 cm she weighed 75 kilograms and her biceps were measured 45 turn centimeters (in an interview with his husband after her death, he declared that she was as heavy as he was that time - 204 kilograms). In 1889 she married a local powerful guy, Paul Blatt (“Hoboken Hercules”) and they began a joint strength acts which continued through 1910. During the decade of 1890 Minerva worked in diverse weightlifting spectacles and carried out tours all over Europe and states of America with various circuses until she retired in 1910. In her spectacles she demonstrated such stunts as breaking horseshoes with the hands; breaking steel chains by expanding her chest; catching 24 pound cannon balls launched out of a cannon situated at 30 feet from her; lifting by hands a chair with a man of 60 kilograms and lifting him in front of her with the extended arms. She was capable to lift a stone of 165 kilograms with a single finger having rings grasping it. On April 15, 1895, in the “Bijou Theatre” in Hoboken, she stood to a high platform and harnessed herself by cables to another wood platform below her with 23 men on it, having total weight (included harness and chains) of 1650 kilograms. Minerva lifted all of them of the floor. In 1893 Minerva received widespread national attention following her victory (in a weightlifting or boxing contest?) over another professional strongwoman, “Victorine”, and her acceptance of a belt – donated by the “Police Gazette” – recognizing her as the “world’s strongest woman.”



Athleta 
 
 A daughter and granddaughter of athletes, Athleta was born in 1868, in Anvers, Belgium. Married at the age of 18 Mr. Go Huffelen she had three daughters, Brada, Louise and Anna, who followed their mother. Athleta had biceps of 42 centimeters, and calf of 43 centimeters. In 1886, when she was only 18, Athleta acted in a weightlifting spectacle moving heavy loads in the theater “Eden Alhambra” in Brussels. After her initial success in Belgium, Athleta traveled to England, where she also had a great success. Later she traveled all over Europe and America holding exhibitions of physical power. Athleta participated in numerous spectacles with strength demonstrations which consisted in lifting and carrying different heavy objects. In those spectacles she was dancing with three men on the shoulders; carrying on her shoulders a heavy bar with four suspended men dressed as soldiers... In 1905, after gaining sufficient money, Athleta decided to leave the world of spectacles and went to live to a chalet (called "Village Athleta") in the country, near Anvers, in Belgium, along with her husband and her family.



Continuing the business of their famous mother, Athleta, her daughters Brada, Louise and Anna also worked in spectacles demonstrating physical strength. At first, they began to act together with the mother and then, after she had withdrew, the three continued acting in spectacles performing in the famous Parisian nightclub "Folies Bergere" (Folly Shepherds). Nevertheless, they did not reach the glory of their mother had obtained. In 1905, when Athleta visited the “French Club of Weightlifting”, The oldest daughter Brada, 18, had parameters 170cm/70 kg and lifted a bar of 70 kilograms over her head. Louise, the second daughter, 16 (168cm/40 kg) lifted 40 kg over her head. Anna, the youngest one, 14 (165cm) lifted 50 kg over her head and 55 kilogram to the shoulders.





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Re: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 11:12:17 am »


Katie (Kate) Brumbach (“Sandwina”) Possibly the best ever known strongwoman, Katie (Kate) Brumbach was born in 1884 in Vienna, Austria (her parents were from Bavaria, Germany) and passed away of cancer on January 21, 1952. She had exceptional physical parameters: 184 cm of height, 85 kg of weight; 44 turn cm of biceps; 20 turn cm of wrists and 67 turn cm of thigh. Her parents, Philippe and Johanna Brumbach acted as a powerful pair in fairs and circuses (the biceps of Johanna measured 40 cm) and they had fourteen children. Kate’s three sisters, Barbara, Marie and Eugenia also possessed great physical strengths and acted in power demonstrations. Yet Kate was the most famous one of the four. Barbara and Marie acted as a duet, with the artistic name of "Braselly". During years, Kate participated in circus spectacles with her family, and the most exciting moment came when her father offered 100 marks to any man in the audience who would capable to defeat his daughter Kate in wrestling. According to the legend, nobody earned the 100 marks. Her husband during 52 years, Max Heymann, was one of those daredevils who accepted the challenge and according to his own words, the following had happened with him: “As I have entered the ring I started thinking that if I earned the 100 marks it would be the most extravagant way to earn money I have ever had. But the only thing I recall is my sudden rotation in the air with the flashing blue sky in my eyes, and then free falling down. Eventually, I found myself on the floor panting and semi-unconscious, while the girl bent down to me and said: "Have I inflicted any damage to you? Then she grabbed me in her arms as a dummy and carried me to her tent."



Occasionally, famous Eugene Sandow, who made the epoch in powerlifting, appeared in a small athletic club in New York and responded to Kate’s challenge to a strength test. Kate started lifting weights increasingly heavier and heavier and Sandow, subsequently, caught the ones she left and lifted them at the same time. Finally, Kate lifted a weight of 300 pounds (136 kg) on the level of her head whereas Sandow was able to lift it just to his chest, with which Kate won the contest. Overpowering Sandow she decided to adopt the artistic name of “Sandwina” (female derivative from “Sandow”). She was capable to lift her husband of 75 kilograms above the head with just one arm. In fact she used him in performances just as a dumbbell. Among her actions were: tossing up iron balls of 14 kilograms which then she caught by the back of the neck; maintaining a carousels of 14 persons on her shoulders; doubling iron bars of 5 centimeters in diameter; resisting the traction of 4 horses... During the 1920s, 1930 and the beginning of the 1940, she worked in the United States. In 1941 season, in the age of 57, Sandwina still worked as powerlifter in the “Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus”. Being 64 year old she still was able to break horseshoes and to double bars of iron with the hands as well as to lift her husband with one hand. Subsequently she and her husband opened a restaurant in New York. Their son, Theodore Sandwina, was a famous heavyweight boxing champion in the 1920s and early 1930s (his parameters were 6'2"/210 Lbs). Teddy’s strength in the ring was hereditary.

Madame Montagna (right). She was born in the city of Bologna, Italy, in 1874. Married another strong person who weighed 115 kilograms. Madame Montagna, in an occasion, bore cannon on her back which weighed 105 kilograms while it was loaded and shot. In 1909, an Algerian newspaper published that Madame Montagna tear and left in half a composed deck of 110 playing cards in five seconds and later halved them again.
Kate Roberts (“Vulcana”)  Kate Roberts (left), the famous lightweight strongwoman was born in 1883, of Irish parents. She took the artistic name "Vulcana" when was performing with strength demonstrations in the “English Music Hall”. Although she weighed just 57 kilograms, she lifted 65 kilograms above the head with one hand. When she was young she loved running without rest, climbing to the trees and all those things that girls were not supposed to do. Being a middle school student she surprised her classmates by carrying the school organ. Years later, in the “Music Hall of London”, her specialty was lifting men. Although her power stunts were not especially innovative, being the typical for strongwomen, Vulcana was the first woman who included in her repertoire the unique stunt, so-called "Tomb of Hercules" which had been performed just by few powerful men. This act consisted in supporting a big platform placing on the abdomen of the performer who leans backwards on the floor by the hands and legs. The wonder is that two horses with their attendants stood on that platform and leave it for a few seconds. It is said that once, in Paris, she caught a thief, grabbed him and took him to a police precinct. She convinced women to be in charge of their own physical development. She struggled against the custom of wearing corsets considering this part of women’s equipment to be unnatural that was an instrument of torturing grandmothers of that epoch. There are a lot of legends about her strength and courage.



Maria Loorberg (scenic name Marina Lurs), one of the strongest Russian women in the 1900s -1910s. She was trained by the weightlifting enthusiast A.I. Andrushkevich, who was the first trainer of the famous George Gakkenshmidt. Marina had been training since 1903 and four years later, she started participating in wrestling championships and performed with strength stunts. 

Maria was born on April 10, 1881, in Tallinn (Estonia), and passed away on March 30, 1922. Maria had a solid build – weighed 80 kg having the height of 168 cm. In 1903 she became a student of Adolph Andruschkevich, a Russian coach of powerlifting and two years later, in 1905, Maria already appeared in carnivals and circuses of Estonia and other provinces of Russia. Maria was capable to lift two men, weighing 66 kilograms each, with one hand and to move a man suspended with a strap which she held with the teeth. On August 13, 1913 she carried a board in which 13 men were seated just by her teeth.

In her epoch she enjoyed an enormous popularity, and went known as a woman Kalev (Kalev is a national hero of Estonia). And she is still honored in Estonia as a strongwoman and a great wrestler. http://www.einst.ee/literary/reviews/book_ehin_02.htm Along with her friend, another Estonian female wrestler Annette Busch, Maria had the glorious competition tours began in 1907; they competed all over Tsarist Russia, reaching to Siberia and even to Japan and China. Maria Loorberg was named the best woman athlete of the Russian Empire.

The Russian magazine "Hercules" reported in 1913: "Special attention is attracted by a female power athlete Marina Lurs. She is perfectly built and has massive but gracefully outlined musculature. Lurs performs weight tricks, which would be good for a strong male athlete. She works as a "Hercules" in an old kind circus. Each her trick is perfectly finished each her move expresses strength. However, at the same time, the body of Marina Lurs is not even coarse but it impresses you by its soft plastic lines… Let's put pictures of Marina Lurs on circus placards and let all town ladies see this daughter of Eve who is deservedly proud by her strength and harmony". Odessa's newspapers in 1913 reported with gusto about visit some power lady Marina Lurs already having shocked the European audience. "Her best-known number was lifting a stick where nine men located as roosters on a perch. By the way, she was spinning this weight as well. And shame on those who think she has lost her femininity for their."

Lurs’ the most famous stunts were the following: she carried three people on her back; lying on back she 32 times lifted by legs a bar with two people on it’s tips (with total weight 184 kg) and held in such a position 9 people. On August 27, 1913 she established the record: she planted her arms firmly on the knees and maintained 13 people on her legs. The total weight – 880 kg! (The famous male athlete Arthur Saxon managed to hold 1040 kg on his legs.) Lurs easily joggled with two 32kg dumbbells, pushed up 90kg with two arms, and snatched 48kg by one hand. The audience was dazzled by the act in which Marina was spinning a yoke with “human loads” on its tips.



Loise Armaindo  Her real name was Louise Brisbois, she was born in St. Ann, Quebec (Canada). Having 158 cm in height and weighed just 55 kilograms she held up two suspended men for a minute just by her teeth – she performed that on the exhibitions in the Athenaeum Gymnasium in Chicago.

A short time before the end of the XIX century she became the first woman in the world running 20 miles uninterruptedly (with an average speed of 9.5 miles per hour). With a “high wheel" bicycle” (the old bike style with enormous wheels which were utilized in that epoch) she covered 760 miles in the six day ride. In the Reservoir Park in Maryland she broke the record for this type of bicycle that had been owned by a man, Chat Jenkins. It was told that she lifted a weight of 760 pounds (345 kilograms)! If this is true, it would be the record of all the times for the both genders. This is especially unbelievable if consider her own weight. In fact, there are no reliable sources confirming that and it’s quite difficult to believe in such a feat. In 1911 Louise withdrew from all the practices of athletics.



Lillian Leitzel (Her biography has also been used on the site "Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey"). Beautiful strongwoman and acrobat Lillian Leitzel was born in Breslau, Germany on January 2, 1892. She weighed just 43 kg (95 Lbs) with the height 143 cm (4’9”). Leitzel's parents separated when Leitzel was very young and she was raised by her grandparents. Born as Leopoldina Alitza Pelikan, she took her better-known name Lillian Leitzel that means "Little Alice." She received a quality education including advanced training in music, dance and language skills. She was fluent in 5 languages. She studied the arts at conservatories in both Breslau and Berlin and excelled at the piano. Her instructors encouraged her and it was thought that she may one day pursue a career as a concert pianist. Leitzel, however, had very different ideas. In her private time, she constructed a trapeze bar for herself and taught herself the tricks she had seen her mother and aunts accomplished. Leitzel's mother and two aunts performed in an aerial act known as the “Leamy Ladies”. The Leamy Ladies trapeze act was famous throughout Europe. Leitzel begged her mother to let her perform and her visits with her mother eventually lead to her participation in the act.

Leitzel first came to the United States in 1908 as a member of the Leamy Ladies, appearing with the Barnum & Bailey show during the New York engagement that year. They returned in 1911 as a featured act with Barnum & Bailey. At the end of the 1911 season, the Leamy Ladies returned to Europe without Leitzel who remained in the United States working the vaudeville circuit. It was during this time that Leitzel honed and developed her solo Roman rings act which by then included the one-arm plunges for which she is most famous. During the plunges, Leitzel would separate her shoulder and throw her entire body over her shoulder again and again. It was not uncommon for Leitzel to do 100 revolutions during a performance. All the while, audiences would count out loud as Leitzel would flip over and over, "....96....97...98...99...100!" Leitzel's record was an amazing 249 revolutions! Audiences loved her.

In November, 1914, while performing in South Bend, Indiana, a booking agent with Ringling Bros. Circus saw her act and offered her a contract on the spot. The 4 foot 9 inch, 95 pound Leitzel made her solo Big Top debut on April 17, 1915 at the Coliseum in Chicago. Leitzel was a Ring 2 headline performer from the outset where she remained throughout the rest of her life. In 1918, when she was 26, in the gymnasium Merrimann, in Philadelphia, being hung on a bar with a single hand performed 27 tractions with the right hand and 17 tractions with the left, consistent in lifting the head to the height of the bar (surpassing with a great deal the record for women as well as of men). Using two hands she was capable to perform the tractions charging with another person. In 1920 she married a man of circus, Clyde Ingalls, being divorced four years later. A little later she fell in love with the legendary trapeze flyer, Alfredo Codona, who she married in 1928.

Leitzel and Codona were tireless performers, even scheduling engagements during the Circus' winter break. During one of these breaks, on February 13, 1931 Leitzel was performing at Valencia Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Codona at inter Garden in Berlin. Shortly after midnight, Leitzel finished up her Roman rings presentation and ascended into the air to begin her infamous one-arm plunges. On that night, the brass swivel on the rope crystallized and broke. She fell over 20 feet to a hard, concrete floor. She suffered a concussion and spinal injuries in the fall, but doctors were confident she'd recover. Codona rushed to her side. She insisted she was fine and urged Codona to return to Berlin to finish his engagement. She boarded a train with him and the pair headed back to Berlin when she died 2 days later on February 15, 1931.



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Re: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2009, 11:20:47 am »


Elvira Sansoni and her Sisters .  The sisters Sansoni, and first of them, Elvira, worked in the “Circus Rancy” performing in spectacles of strength. Usually they worked with weights between 36 and 68 kilograms (80 - 150 pounds). Just as it is seen on the placard, one of the stunts consisted in leaning feet and hands on the floor backwards, forming an arch and supporting a little orchestra on the chest: a woman-pianist with a piano and a man touching the violin. In the placard there you can see also maintaining three men on her shoulders: a seated one and two others hanging on the bar. She also was good in playing with cannon balls. Her performances attracted a lot of attention and she became very popular and famous in the world.



Marie Ford. She was born in 1900, in the town of Olean, in the New York state, USA. Having 163 cm (5' 4'') and 59 kg (130 Lbs) she was very versatile athlete - she participated in boxing, wrestling, marathon; she also worked in the circus as acrobat. In one of her spectacles, she caught a nail and punched them into a wood board to an inch (two and a half centimeters). While she traveled all over North America with her spectacles, she challenged any woman or man in the audience to a wrestling or boxing match - for male volunteers for boxing it was the restriction though, to have about the same weight and not to be a boxer-professional.



Martha Farra. . Marta was born in 1903 in Vienna, Austria. Her maiden name was Martha Khan. She weighed just 55 kilograms. Her parents were circus acrobats, and since she was a baby Marta learned to be an equilibrist and to accomplish somersaults.

In 1924, she proclaimed herself to be the strongest woman of the world - she was capable to lift a platform of 3500 pound (1587 kilograms) to 75 centimeters over the floor. There is the famous photograph where she can be seen trying to lift a young elephant standing on a platform. In reality, however, it turned out later that the stunt with the platform was just a trick. Besides powerlifting she practiced in freestyle wrestling and participated in some wrestling matches.



Ada Ash. This powerful blonde was born in 1906, in Hamilton, Ohio (USA). She was surprisingly short, her height was just 153 cm. Around the decade of 1930s he worked in diverse spectacles with strength stunts. In one of these spectacles, her husband, Al Szasz, directed a truck of 4 tons that rolled above a board situated on her stomach. In other actions, Ada fought against a crocodile suffering several serious bites in jaw, arms and legs (photo). Another her act consisted of lifting a horse that stood on a wood platform. She also doubled iron bars and performs many other strength demonstrations like being an anvil – holding a board which her husband hit by a sledgehammer (see the photo). Besides possessing an enormous physical strength and acting as a strongwoman she showed her worth as a great wrestler and trainer having written three books dedicated to judo and self-defense (together with her husband). Being brave and strong she participated in female wrestling competitions (her husband also was a great wrestler). Actually, at her time women wrestling was transformed from competitive (albeit not always real) to an entertainment show which now is known as “professional wrestling”, the profitable show industry. In one of wrestling matches against another famous female wrestler Nell Stewart (who was much younger her), Ada accidentally fell out of the ring to the floor in a bad position and damaged her spine. As the result, she was disabled during almost two years, and recovered thanks to the care and dedication of her husband, who remained next to her doing massages for five hours every day.



Ivy Russel.  Ivy Elizabeth Russel was born in 1907 in Croydon (England). Her parameters were 167 cm and 57 kg. She was born being just one and a half kilograms. In school she practiced swimming and gymnastics. When Ivy was 12, she became a member of a local gymnastic club. At 14 she had serious pulmonary problems and asthma. Little later she showed an interest to physical culture, started training with weights and became one of the most famous strongwomen of the decade of 1930s. She worked in strength demonstrations, like lifting and maintaining several persons... Later, she opened a small gym in Croydon, England. Just before the World War II she married a doctor Londoner, crossed the Channel and relocated to England. In the article of the magazine "Pearson' s Weekly" for October 9, 1937, it was said that her biceps were of the same size that ones of the German boxer Max Schmeling, heavyweight world champion. Her physical parameters were higher than ones of that strong man: her calf size exceeded his by more than one centimeter, the circumference of her thighs – by two and a half centimeters. Owing to her incredible physical strength Ivy became a great wrestler. In 1934 she started attending the “Victory Ladies Wrestling Club” for training in wrestling, and in a year she managed to gain the champion title in the female wrestling championship defeating all her opponents. Once a man visiting the wrestling class learned that Ivy was training in wrestling and started mocking her. Other men in the class retorted him that any woman should know how to wrestle. Being deeply touched by this incident Ivy invited the man to her gym and there grabbed him into her arms and kept squeezing strongly until he asked for mercy and begged to release him.



Joan Rhodes. Her real name was Joan (Josie) Terena.  She was born in 1920 (?) in England. Being slender (170cm/65 kg) she dedicated all her life to circus - she left her house when she was thirteen and started working in circus where performed in different kinds of roles, such as trapeze artist, acrobat and strength performer. She doubled bars of iron, broke nails of iron of six inches and tore telephone guides just by hands. In one of her spectacles, Joan grabbed "Atlas", a gigantic Belgian man, who weighed 200 kilograms and charged him on her shoulders. After doubling bars of iron she asked men in the audience to straighten them and, after contemplating as various men from the public unsuccessfully tried that with all their might, she got the bar back and straightened it without any visible effort. Once Joan was busy in a spectacle in a night club in Vienna, where two spectators happened to be Olympic weightlifters. They declared that they could do easily the same things that she did. Joan offered them to break the nails of 6 inches that she used in her action. In spite of the fact that the both tried that, none of the two managed that. After all, Joan got the nail and broke it. Joan Rhodes coached during a time in the gymnasium with Ivy Russel and also had a class of Judo in the Dave Crowley’s Club of London. Besides possessing an incredible physical force, Joan was also able to speak French, Spanish and German.

The following strong ladies of the beginning of the XX century are also reported:



Alice Collins (right). The trapeze artist who worked in the circus in the late 1910s and the beginning of 1920s. She possessed a muscular body, especially incredibly strong arms. Eugenia Werkme. Eugenia had hired a guy of the enormous size who played his role in her actions. The giant came to the stage and lifted a heavy bar. Then Eugenia appeared, grabbed the giant along with the weight, lifted them on her head and walked over the stage demonstrating exceptional physical strength. Gertrude Leandros (top left). Born in Antwerp (Belgium) in 1882. Her parameters were 1'67 cm/ 72 kg. She was a daughter of the famous athlete of the epoch, Philipi. In her actions she performed diverse exercises of strength and dexterity acting with her husband (whose weight was just 60 kilograms) – she lifted and manipulated with his body in different ways. Gertrude had biceps of 37,5 cm and thighs of 63,5 cm. Athelda (middle left). She was born in Manchester (England), her real name was Frances Rheinlander. Her height was 170 cm and weight 75 kg. Athelda performed in the decade of 1910s in various music halls in England, where accomplished different exercises demonstrating exceptional strength lifting and carrying weights and people. Anna Abbs (below right). Was a daughter of the famous powerful man Carl Abbs. She held spectacles of physical strength demonstration including weightlifting. She traveled all over Europe. During her actions she called any person from the audience to verify the authenticity of the weights she had lifted and then offered him to try pick up and carry them.



Mars Bennett. Born in Texas, USA in 1920s in the family of a circus clown. Passed away in an automobile accident. Her parameters were 166cm/57 kg. Mars Bennett started as a trapeze artist in the circuses “Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey”. Later she acted also as a backup actress in several movies, doubling the real actresses in dangerous scenes. Later, she worked in performances of the strength and wrestling. Mars Bennett was training with the coach Lou Leonard in the Bothners' gymnasium in New York, where she practiced judo, weightlifting, wrestling and boxing. As a wrestler, became very popular to the end of the decade of 1940 and during the 50s. Besides the above-mentioned talents, Mars Bennett was a good singer.

Many other powerful women acted in the early XX century - they lifted and supported heavy weights (including people and big animals) in different ways. Among them the following strongwomen stood out (below from left to right and from top to bottom): Mademoiselle Ani, Miss Hertha, Caroline Bauman, Madame Starck, Perlane, Hermanas Rubio, Louise (Luisita) Leers, Miss Ella.




 


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daveibarra

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Re: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2009, 03:42:25 am »
Very interesting pot ¡¡¡

Thanks for share it

nate

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Re: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2009, 03:30:59 am »
Thanks for amazing post. I like all the history. Please continue with more if you can.  ;D

DEA

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Re: Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 12:51:45 pm »
Wow, one of the most complex post here...

Personaly, I´m glad I live in presence, since the women are in general much stronger and muscular. But lets see what happens in the future - there can be gentetic enhancements giving women muscles of Arnold Schwarzeneger. I hope it will come true before I die :-)

Offline shelton

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Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 04:35:58 pm »
These are all from the sixties. Sorry for any dupes.

 






     
k+ if you like it

kbdada

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2010, 05:16:34 am »
Here you go:
(look for zip file at the end)



kbdada

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2010, 05:18:02 am »






kb


kbdada

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2010, 05:19:48 am »






zip file: **********/?d=IO51M6XM


kb


shapethat

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2010, 03:23:45 am »

kbdada

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2010, 04:59:25 am »


Great vids, shapethat! Miss Mara is really incredible!

The strength of this woman was amazing. Especially the scenes of her holding her entire body weight
with just one hand, held in a flexed chin-up position (see pics below).

 


kb



Offline racerx009

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2010, 07:36:27 am »
What a stunning woman that María! That video had me on the edge of my damn chair!

ribtin64

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2010, 08:23:47 pm »
Mildred Burke turned me on to strong women

buddye

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Re: Serious Old-time Muscle
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2010, 05:21:01 am »
Nice tribute to the original shmoe Orin J. Heller who compiled all this good stuff. His son is Larry Heller the genius behind LH Art.

Forum Saradas  |  Female BodyBuilding & Fitness & Figure - Members Area  |  Memorable Female Muscle & Hall of Legends  |  Iron Ladies at the edge of XIX and XX centuries
 

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