Iron History

[Main Index] [Next entry: "Iron History January 11-17, 2002"]

01/03/2002 Entry: "Iron History"

In February 1946, Strength & Health magazine reported that Hermann Goerner, the famous German strongman, had died "two years ago". He in fact died eleven years later on June 29, 1956.

Currently Planet Muscle magazine reported that Karl Norberg died in 1976. He died in 1983.

If you check my column Factoids in Flex magazine over the past decade you will find some errors. We are human, mistakes will happen, but now through this column, hopefully with your feedback, we can work together and ascertain the facts at straight as possible. Some mistakes are slips of the fingers, typos. Some mistakes are slips of the writer's awareness, such as my mistake in referring to Paul Anderson's safe as being in Vidalia, Georgia, when in fact it sits in Toccoa. Having spent several years studying about this safe, this mistake still got by me, even though (trust me) I knew and know better.

Iron History will appear on Fridays, and will be concerned with the relevant days thru the next Thursday. I have included a fact for the first three days because we are starting at year's beginning.

Jan 1, 1892
Louis Cyr and his brother Pierre set sail for London.

Jan 2, 1914
Bob Peoples' ( the great deadlifter ) future wife Juanita was born.

Jan 3, 1918
Andy Jackson's future wife Elaine was born.
Jan 3, 1992
Derek, the son of Larry Scott, died.

Jan 4, 1905
There was solid evidence to support the claim printed on the business card of Arthur Saxon: "The Strongest Man on Earth", especially regarding the bent press, which Arthur had begun learning at age 14 in 1892. Two years later an accident caused both his eyes to be blind, and sight returned later to only the left eye, making his heavy bent presses all the more remarkable because one of the tenets of a bent press is to keep your eye on the bell as you lean away from it. On Jan 4, 1905 Arthur bent pressed 336 pounds, and although he would later do more, and both he and his brothers could hold 424 pounds at straight arm in the lift, none of the trio could stand erect with that much. For a 26 year-old, 336 pounds will do nicely.

Jan 4, 1951
Zabo Koszewski arrived at Muscle Beach and has basically stayed there. Also staying around is the belief that Zabo has never lost when competing for the best abs title. Not true. He lost to Wally Ferrell on September 8, 1950, though Zabo placed third for the main title while Wally did not place.

Jan 5, 1892
Karl Norberg was born (some sources say 1893). His physique would have placed him dead last in any physique contest if he had entered any. A sculptor would require only a lump of clay and two minutes to be able to liken Karl's image. But, when upper body strength was in the mix, Karl was a work of art, and compensated well for his lack of lines. He celebrated an occasional birthday with bench press feats. He approached the 500 pound mark, nudging it with 480. On April 17, 1965, at the Mr. California contest he benched 430, and for his 80th birthday on January 5, 1972 he got three reps with 300. At 80! Karl died in Sweden in 1983.

Jan 6, 1976
Stout Jackson died. Supposedly on March 19, 1924 Stout knelt under a platform upon which were stacked 12 bales of cotton, and he backlifted the whole affair said to total 6,472 pounds. This, of course, exceeds Paul Anderson's claimed backlift of 6,270 by 202 pounds. Anderson wrote to me that in fact his own backlift was a couple hundred pounds more than was ever reported, thus placing him on par with Jackson, but in fact, the safe used in Paul's backlift weighed not the 3,500 pounds stated but only 2,300 pounds, so his backlift must be thusly reduced. So far as I am aware Stout's backlift claim is the highest on record, but of course, the bales are long gone, and substantiating his outlandish claim almost impossible.

Jan 7, 1920 or was it July 7, 1920 that Harold Sakata was born. He appeared in about 21 movies, but you know him best as Oddjob in Goldfinger. He wrestled under the name Tosh Togo, and for awhile had the nickname of Pancho. Was a silver medalist in weightlifting, and on March 18, 1949 he won Mr. Waikiki. He died July 29, 1982.

Jan 2, 1863
Minerva, a female strongwoman was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, and was later known as the Hoboken Hercules. Her story was covered in Iron Game History April 1990 and March 1991 to which the reader is referred for some of her strength claims. Died August 1, 1923.

Jan 10, 1916
Allistair Murray was born; I do not know when he died. He ran his own School of Physical Education, and wrote considerably on the topic of weightlifting for both Health & Strengh magazine and for The British Amateur Weightlifter & Bodybuilder. On April 26, 1965 his new Spur Gym was due to open, but burned down that same day! Murray was Britain's first national weightlifting coach. He also helped Doug Hepburn with some training tips.
[I am informed Murray died September 27, 1998; thanks for the
feedback, John]

Replies: Comments(8)

hey great idea
i would like to suggest that you also consider writing an extended article every so often and post it. (i.e. what is paul anderson's safe? what is the bent press and other old time lifts?

Posted by
anthony @ 01/08/2002 05:14 PM CST

Great work, Joe. Is there anyone in the strength world who is more conscientious about getting the facts right? In a field that is notoriously riddled with exaggerations, misunderstandings and outright lies, you continually keep us on track. Your work is like a whiff of airwick in a stuffy, smelly gym!

Posted by David Chapman @ 01/05/2002 08:51 AM CST

Hello from St. Augustine, FL!
Very interesting reading...especially for someone like me who knows basically nil about the sport or its history. Keep up the good work!!!
P.S., I've told my boss about the site, and he plans to log on.

Posted by Debbie @ 01/04/2002 07:08 PM CST

Greetings Joe,
Your Iron History page is great as usual! I'll be coming back to it often! I had no idea Arthur Saxon was blind in his right eye! Perhaps having vision in only his left eye helped his concentration on his lifts, something to think about!

Posted by blueshadow @ 01/04/2002 04:49 PM CST

Joe, I guess some readers need to read more closely.

Joe wrote:
"He approached the 500 pound mark, nudging it with 480. On April 17, 1965, at the Mr. California contest he benched 430, and for his 80th birthday on January 5, 1972 he got three reps with 300. At 80! Karl died in Sweden in 1983."

At 80! is ONE sentence. It is NOT part of the sentence when he died. It is an exclamation of Karl's age when he BENCH PRESSED 300x3 AT 80! 80 years old that is!

Posted by TheEditor @ 01/04/2002 03:46 PM CST

This is a great addition to Cyberpump! Thanks Joe and Bill!

Posted by Steve Baldwin @ 01/04/2002 08:07 AM CST

If Norberg was born in 1892 (or 1893) and died in 1983, then he was 90, not 80.

Posted by S @ 01/04/2002 05:01 AM CST

Welcome to Cyberpump! Joe!

Posted by TheEditor @ 01/04/2002 03:24 AM CST