Weird History 30 Hilarious Photographs of Old Timey Strongmen  

Erin McCann
6.1k votes 990 voters 106.9k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the old timey strongmen you most want to hold you in their big, strong arms.

In a modern strongman competition, contestants demonstrate their strength by pulling trucks, lifting insanely heavy objects, and flipping cars over. In the early 1900s, heavily muscled dudes caught cannonballs and ripped chains with their pectoral muscles to prove their might. While the focus of modern strongmen has seemingly gone from strength to appearance, the old timers presented in these pictures led the way for every bodybuilder and train-puller that followed.

Strongmen of the 19th and early 20th centuries made a living demonstrating their strength at fairs, circuses, and theaters. Popular strong guy Eugen Sandow even included pony carrying in his act. Old timey strongman bodyweight exercises included lifting or carrying heavy objects such as kegs or bending steel. Heavy resistance exercises used for health and strength grew in popularity, gymnasiums flourished, and many succumbed to what would later be known as buying a gym membership based on delusions of grandeur. 

These vintage photos of old timey strongmen striking a pose demonstrate muscled dudes were sexy – if you're into leopard print briefs, strategically placed fig leafs, and crazy mustaches, that is.

1 336 VOTES

George Hackenschmidt, Circa 1900


George Hackenschmidt, Circa 19... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 30 Hilarious Photographs of Old Timey Strongmen
Photo: James Steakley/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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Lionel Strongfort, Circa 1900


Lionel Strongfort, Circa 1900 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 30 Hilarious Photographs of Old Timey Strongmen
Photo: Napoleon Sarony/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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3 282 VOTES

Max Sick, 1910


Max Sick, 1910 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 30 Hilarious Photographs of Old Timey Strongmen
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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Arthur Saxon


Arthur Saxon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 30 Hilarious Photographs of Old Timey Strongmen
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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