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George Jowett feat?

Guest Jeff Roark

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Guest Jeff Roark

In discussing the anvil a bit with Richard Sorin I wonder about Jowetts one hand horn clean of what was it 168lbs? I mean I watched Richard pick his up and it was obviously tough for him, but for a man my size to pick up a much larger anvil and clean it one handed.... I don't know. Maybe he did it, and maybe he didn't. Joe is there any solid proof that he did this? Because that would have to be one of the all time greatest feats of grip strength.

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Brooks K talked about it in Dinosuar Training.  I think, if I remember right, he started talking about it agian over at the Old School Board.  Unless I dreamed it all, Brooks said that he(Jowitt) didn't really lift the avnvil, and I think he mentioned something about how he wedged a stool underneath his arm or something.  Somebody from over there might remember.

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What about the missing photos? The ones showing how he

got the bell from the horn grip to the flat part grip at the

shoulder. Did he just 'flip' the bell in mid air, and if so, why wasn't this part of the description- it would have been a

wonderful additive to the fable. We then could have said

that he juggled the anvil to his shoulder.

Believe what you 'wish', but there were other 'staged' photos

from the old days.

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Guest Jeff Roark

I personally don't beleive it after seeing Richards and watching the effort he had to make to pick it up. Also Richard has been seen in modern times doing these things. I must say this though... even picking a 168lbs anvil off the ground by the horn is super impressive, a feat many will never accomplish.

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Thanks, OldGuy. But is it not unfair to demand

dates, times, places, witnesses? And all of those

ingredients were missing more from Jowett's claims

than any other major strongman that I have on file.

For years Liederman had reported 137 lbs for the

weight of the anvil, then Jowett informed him

that the actual weight was 150, no wait, maybe,

168- but George added, 'What's the difference?'

31 pounds in the difference, and maybe 41 pounds

if the figure in the letter is correct. Now we have a

50% margin of error 125-168, but hey, 'What's the


Liederman, MacMahon, and Coulter were all present

in 1925 to see the lift, and apparently could not tell

the visual difference between 125 and 168 in regard

to an anvil. By this time George would have been in

his mid 30s, and other accounts say he had retired

from heavy lifting then.

The other factor that should be considered. In the dumbell

swing, often a backhang would help (loading the rear of the

bell heavier than the front). In anvil lifting when the anvil is

cleaned or swung, we have basically 100% front hang. Try

loading all the weight on the front of the dumbell and see if

you can swing as much...It becomes like a ridiculous, evil,

Weaver stick.

And the beat goes on.

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I'm beginning to think that all of the old-time strongman feats were faked! What's going on here? How do we know which ones were legitimate? Were any of them real? I'm becoming more confused with all of these stories.


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It should not be assumed that all old time strength feats

were faked, or assumed they were all true.

Each man/feat/event must be studied in detail comparing

known, [then] current levels of strength etc.

Just because someone (yes, including me) writes something

does not make it so; a repeated error does not become

truth- just a widespread error.

Is there an easier way than in-depth study? I've been at it

since 1970 in an organized manner and have found no easy way, so those of you who are 'new' to this may have some

studying ahead of you, or at the very least, listening, before

accepting every asserted claim.

If you are looking for easy, try another field of study, because

unlike baseball or the other major sports, iron does not offer

literally dozens or hundreds of reference books and biographies.

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Tripping through a chapter of Jowett's book, "The Key To Might And Muscle", he talks about visiting a local blacksmith and his shop and lifting his HUGE anvil.  Not once during the chapter does he mention the real weight of the anvil.  I haven't finished the book yet, but Jowett seems to want to "Wow" the reader, and not provide accurate detail to compare to others.  Maybe it's the showman in him protecting the image of himself being just such a strongman.

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Yes, I think Jowett was just that, a "showman". Otherwise these guys would have had a lot more proof of their tremendous feats of strength! I have Jowett's course on developing a mighty grip and it's on its way to the wastebasket. Unfortunately, I have wasted money on some of these old courses. My Thomas Inch course is following the Jowett into the trash can. It's the perfect time for some Spring cleaning!


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Before chucking that material into the round file.... have you considered "donating" it to a fellow gripster??  They might make better use of it and really enjoy the material.  Some of the stuff I read is written by guys who wrote it almost 100 years ago; but so what?.... I try to get something from the writer, as I feel they are relaying a message to me - the reader.  Can I learn SOMETHING from the likes of Hackenschmidt, Jowett, Saxon, Goerner, Inch and others?  Since I can't go back in a time machine and learn from the greats, reading about their heroic exploits is just as good!  :)

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Good idea Sybersnott,

Would anyone like the Jowett course on developing a mighty grip or the Thomas Inch grip course? I'll be happy to donate them to any who are interested. I don't want to give the impression that I don't believe any of the old-time feats of strength, I think some of them are legitimate. On the other hand, I think there was a fair amount of "trickery" as well. I figure that the "tricks" were probably the feats that have no, or very little concrete documentation to support them. I am totally amazed by some of the feats like Goerner's massive one-handed deadlift. It's amazing that some of those guys were as strong as they were without steroids. I just can't stand the "fakes".


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Just emailed a request to the man who has, or had, the Jowett anvil at his gym. Asked for weight and length.

Hopefully, he will reply.

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The man who is in custody of the Jowett anvil tells me that

it does in fact weigh 168 lbs.

Another bit of info to consider: Mark Henry tried to one hand

deadlift the anvil by the horn. He failed. And Henry of course has deadlifted more than 900 lbs in competition!

Anybody still believing that Jowett could clean with one hand

what Henry could not deadlift with one hand? Yes, the same

Mark Henry who can pull the Inch replica chest high with one

hand, could not get the 168 lb anvil off the floor with one hand. But Jowett, at half of Henry's bodyweight could clean


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Hey Joe, How`s the show? :p

Page one of this thread has 2 photos of Jowett with the anvil. Clearly he has pulled it from the floor by the horn to about mid-thigh. Photo 2 shows the anvil at shoulder level, but he has it gripped by face plate of the anvil. How in the world was he able to transfer his grip from horn to face plate? Since there are no sequence photos we will never know how he performed this. I suppose you can hypothesize what you will on that!

I have the book "Anvils in America" written by Richard A Postman, which is touted as the "Bible" on anvil history. Looking at some charts, the horn length and thickness is governed by the weight of the anvil, so that horn of his anvil is in the neighborhood of about 9-10 inches long and probably about 4-41/2 inches thick. Maybe the thickness bested Henry?

( maybe your budd can check on the thickness)

I Just can not see Jowett having the ability to literally flip that anvil in mid air and catch it by the face plate, indeed  if that is what he did.. Oh well another conundrum to dwell on.

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Roark.... could you persuade your friend who is possession of the Jowett anvil to take some pics of it, and something next to it as a size reference?  I'd like to see that.....  :p

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I've never seen it in print that Jowett cleaned this anvil, certainly not by Jowett. In fact in his 1926 book 'Key to Might and Muscle' he only states on page 112 "I have seen several raise the 75 or 80 pound anvil high off the floor, but I only saw two ever lift the 140 pound anvil; while on three occasions I successfully raised the anvil of 168pounds." The pictures featured opposite page 224 have him lifting the anvil by the horn as previously said, and the second has him ready to press it. All it states with the second photo is "He is seen here balancing the same anvil by the face on one hand at the shoulder, where he pushed it to arms' length overhead".

I don't know why Mark Henry failed to pull it, but I'm absolutely positive that Richard Sorin would lift it by the horn.


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