25 Hilarious Photographs of Old-Timey Strongmen

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At the turn of the 20th century, the world saw the rise of a new kind of public hero: the professional strongman.

Strongmen emerged from the physical culture movement that had been building during the 1800s, and was itself a response to the Industrial Revolution. With the proliferation of office work, there became a growing concern as to how this new sedentary lifestyle was affecting the health — and manhood — of the country’s men.

Strongmen were symbols of virility maintained — proof that citizens still had the grit, power, and strength of their pioneer forebearers and the potential for doing manly deeds. If men could no longer tame the frontier and challenge the enemies of nature, they could master themselves and pit their hardihood against the weights of a gymnasium.

1. George Hackenschmidt, circa 1900

2. George Hackenschmidt

3. Max Sick, 1910

4. Arthur Saxon

5. Eugen Sandow, circa 1902

6. Lionel Strongfort

7. Eugen Sandow

8. Bernarr Macfadden, circa 1918

9. Strongman, circa 1920

10. Eugen Sandow, 1896

11. Jess Westergaard, circa 1910

12. Georg Lurich, circa 1910

13. Strongman, circa 1901

14. Stanislaus Zbyszko, circa 1913

15. Eugen Sandow, 1894

16. A. Dandurand, 1927

17. Eugen Sandow, 1902

18. Strongman Of The Police School, 1906

19. Georg Lurich, circa 1910

20. Georg Lurich, circa 1910

21. A. Dandurand, 1927

22. Louis Cyr

23. Frederick Winters, 1904 Olympics

24. Pat Connelly, circa 1910

25. Louis Cyr, circa 1900

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