formerly Shakespeare and Company Books, now VIcarious Experience

Development of Physical Power by Arthur Saxon

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Development of Physical Power by Arthur Saxon. T. Inch, London. No date. There is an announcement beginning the ads dated July 6th, 1904 "Arthur Saxon is prepared to meet anyone to conbtest for the wold's weight-lifting Championship---no one barred---for any amount over £100". 121 pages + 19 pages of advertisements - all related to weight lifting and physical development. Illustrated in black and white from photographs and drawings. There is some edge wear to the cover with a small nick on the front of the spine. The gilt lettering on the front cover is slightly faded by wear, but still very bright. There is no lettering on the spine. It looks like there is the shadow of old higher acid paper inside the front and back covers. Inside the front cover, in discrete pencil, it looks like there is an old bookseller's price, or previous owner's initials. Otherwise, there are no previous owner markings in the book. There are no creases or folds to the pages. Binding is tight with no looseness to the pages. Not ex-Library, Not Facsimile, Not Print-on-demand. BG02a

"Arthur Saxon (April 28, 1878 – August 6, 1921), born Arthur Hennig and nicknamed "The Iron-Master", was a German strongman and circus performer from the late 19th century into the early 20th century. Saxon is most well known for the bent press, with which he set a world record of 168 kg (370 lbs) (although there are claims that he has done 175 kg (385 lbs).) as well as the "two hands anyhow" lift of 203 kg (448 lbs).

In 1905, Saxon published The Development of Physical Power, which explains his methods for performing lifts including the usage of barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells, as well as Ring, Ball and Square lifting. This book also depicts Saxon displaying the lifts in 45 pages of photographs. (This stated publication date conflicts with the challenge date noted in our book.- J.W.)

During his service in World War I, Saxon suffered from malnutrition. After the war he tried to continue his strongman act, which conflicted with his unhealthy condition. He grew weaker and developed tuberculosis. Saxon eventually developed pneumonia, causing his death on August 6, 1921, at age 43." -Wikipedia

"Arthur Saxon along with his brothers Hermann and Kurt comprised one of the most famous strong man acts of all time. Their death defying acts were legendary while traveling with the Ringling Brother’s Circus as The Saxon Trio.  The Saxon Trio was billed as The Great German Giants of Strength.  Arthur Saxon was billed as The Strongest Man on Earth.

One of their most famous feats of strength and daring was supporting on their feet a bridge, a speeding automobile and six men, in all 8000 pounds!

Arthur Saxon challenged anyone and everyone of the time to weightlifting contests. He offered one hundred pounds sterling to anyone who could lift his barbell that was said to weigh 325 pounds. 

Anytime there is a discussion regarding the strongest man of all time, Arthur Saxon is most certainly a strong contender. After all, no one else has ever Bent Pressed 370 pounds!" -

(For a complete story about the only time another weight-lifter may have bested Saxon in his challenge see "Sandow the Magnificent" by David Chapman. U. of Illinois Press. pp 105-108

Sandow accepted a Saxon challenge, could not duplicate, but to save his own reputation as a strong man fabricated evidence that Saxon had cheated and sued Saxon for libel. The court found in favor of Sandow based upon a technicality that they did not know in the rules of weight-lifting and it was later determined that Sandow had indeed failed.

Other sources, about Saxon's death indicate that there is a significant degree of uncertainty as to how he died. - J.W.)