Monday, June 27, 2011

THE DEVELOPMENT OF PHYSICAL POWER - (Circa 1906) - Chapter 20 - PRESS NOTICES - By Arthur Saxon

My South African Tour

Utenhage Times -- Wirths' Circus, South Africa:

The brothers Wirth, who were in past years so well and favourably known in Utenhage, opened their great Australian Circus to a fair audience last night, and the season will close with the performance tonight. Of the performance generally, we can only say that it is the best show of the kind we have seen in Africa, and, indeed, with regard to the performances of the Brothers Howard (the world's greatest Mystifiers), and the Saxon Brothers (the world's greatest Strong Men), we have never seen anything approaching it in the Old Country. . . .

The exhibition of strength given by the Brothers Saxon is a show of itself, and a good one too. In Arthur Saxon and his brother one sees models of men as described in ancient mythology, such as Achilles, and a few others of the ancient "swells." But to see him in his endeavors to raise a bar-bell weighing over 300 lbs. above his head, reminds one of Atlas, with the world on his shoulders. Bar-bells up to this weight are flung about and held in different positions by these "wonders of men" as if they were walking-sticks; and lifting over 1,000 lbs. with the teeth, and bearing over 2,000 lbs. off the ground, are feats that no other man in the world could perform. Even the great Eugen Sandow cannot compete successfully with Arthur Saxon who has a wager of L1,000 to compete with any man (Sandow included) in trials of strength.

Accident in Cape Town

The youngest of the Saxon Trio, now engaged at the Circus, had his right elbow dislocated during the performance last evening, whilst supporting 2,000 lbs. dead weight on his chest and legs. Saxon is but 17 years of age, and the applause greeting his feat was at its height, when the board on which the weights are placed snapped, throwing him on his side. He showed good pluck, walking out of the ring apparently quite unconcerned. In response to inquiries this morning, it is said he will probably be all right in five or six days.

* * * * * The Diamond Fields Advertiser, Kimberley, Wed., Sept. 20th, 1899 - Wirths' Circus

The opening performance of Wirths' Grand Circus was given last night. The Company is a strong one, and the items, from start to finish, were gone through without a hitch. The Brothers Saxon, billed as the strongest men on earth, brought down the house, literally, and a portion of the gallery actually, by their feats of strength. Nine men and a big bar-bell is a big load to sustain, but his was managed, apparently without effort, by Mr. Arthur Saxon. The total weight lifted is almost beyond belief, and having regard to the character for veracity always borne by the "Advertiser," we hesitate to state it. However, any of the audience are invited to lift the bar-bell and weights, and there can be no doubt about the avoir-dupois of the band who were supported in the air.

* * * * *

I Wrestle for the Championship of South Africa

The Diamond Field Advertiser, Kimberley, Wed., Sept. 20th, 1899

Wirths' Circus - Saxon Versus Hayston

Wirths' circus drew a crowded house last evening. The artists - a really first-class combination - were all in good form, and every turn was greeted with hearty applause. The Brothers Howard speedily convinced the most sceptical, and loud cheers followed their unique entertainment.

The greatest attraction of the evening was a wrestling match, Graeco-Roman style, between Messrs. Arthur Saxon, described as "the strongest man in the world," and Wilson Hayston, the "champion wrestler of South Africa." It was a case of brawn v. muscle, and also of condition v. non-condition, Saxon, of course, being in splendid trim, while Hayston was in anything but proper wrestling fettle. The contest proved a close and exciting one, interest being sustained from start to finish. The first fall went to the strong man, after a protracted struggle. The second nearly fell to Hayston, at the outset his opponent managing to keep his shoulder blades off the ground by the sheer strength of his forearms. Wilson was not to be denied, and soon had his man down again, this time his weight gradually told, and Saxon had to give way, loud cheers greeting the local man's success. The third was another long bout, but Saxon always looked like having the best of it, and two or three unsuccessful attempts, managed to bring and keep his man down, thus winning the match. Considering his lack of condition, and far from intimate knowledge of this particular style, Hayston did very well, and, though beaten, was certainly not disgraced.

* * * * *

The Bulawayo Chronicle, Sat., Oct 7th 1899

Wirths' Circus - The Saxon Brothers

The Saxon Brothers, who are exhibiting feats of strength at Wirths' Circus, which shows here for the last time to-night, are probably the youngest performers in their line who have become famous during the last two or three years. It will have been noticed that their feats of juggling with weights are performed with great dexterity as well as an ease which comes only by practice, and an evidence that the weights are genuine has been afforded by the laughable and egregious failures made by various members of the public who have attended the circus. The strong men look on and smile at the attempts, and that L5 note remains serenely in Mr. Wirth's waistcoat pocket. In fact it seems that a prize in Rodney's Sweep is easier to obtain. It was with an idea of learning something about the weight-lifting business from one of the most successful exponents of the art or science whichever it should be termed, of recent times, that a Chronicle man called on and saw Mr. Arthur Saxon at he Imperial Hotel. His appearance in black trunk hose and flesh-coloured or pink tights in the circus ring is well-known. There you a good-looking young man, neither dark nor fair, but something between, whose figure by its splendid proportions, arrests the eye at once; the grand development of the chest, shoulders, arms and neck are patent to a casual observer. And if you see Mr. Saxon at close quarters and examine him, you will find that the muscles which are in most people quite small, the abdominal ones, for instance, so prominent in the Farnese Hercules, are fully developed. His strength does not lie particularly in any one place, it seems to be evenly distributed.

Mr. Saxon, it must be admitted, does not show to such advantage in his ordinary everyday dress, but he is an unassuming young man, speaks English well for a foreigner, and had no objection to give the pressman a few facts about his career. He was born in Saxony in April, 1878, and first began as an amateur to practice heavy weight-lifting at the age of 17. In a few months he succeeded in going up from handling 100 lbs. to a weight of 224 lbs. He obtained his first important engagement in 1898, making his debut in Oldham. Sampson was present when the challenged all comers at Burnley, but did not essay the trial. The Saxon Brothers performed in England for two years. Mr. Adolf Saxon is also a finely-built man and executes many clever feats, being practically equal to Arthur Saxon in all but the crowning feats. During the two years they were in England they never found anyone who could lift the big bar-bell above his head with one or both hands. Arthur Saxon's greatest feat was done when he lifted 268 lbs. with his right hand above his head and 100 lbs. with his left, a total of 368 lbs. The weights were weighed on scales previously. From this, and the fact that he has an open challenge to all comers, it may be acknowledged he has reason from claiming to be the strongest man in the world.

In height, Arthur Saxon is 5ft. 10ins. His weight is about 212 lbs., chest measurement, 47 or 48ins., biceps and neck, each 17 1/2 ins.

* * * * *

I Meet and Defeat --- the Champion Wrestler of Ceylon

Supplement o the Ceylon Independent - January 1900

Wirths' Circus at the Racquet Court

Successful Performance Last Night - Mahbool Khan Beaten

The principal item, however, was reserved the last. This was a much talked-of and looked-for wrestling match between Arthur Saxon - the strongest man in the world - and Mahbool Khan, the champion wrestler of Ceylon. Both men took seats at either end of the ring amid deafening applause, but before the real business commenced Mr. Wirth called for a referee and timekeeper, both of whom were forthcoming, the former being Mr. Money, Drill Instructor.

The audience were then informed of the conditions; namely, that the winner of two falls out of three would be declared the winner, the falls to be on the back only. Soon after the struggle commenced the strong man came to the ground but face downwards, and the almost superhuman efforts with which he raised himself and almost threw his opponent to the ground evoked considerable applause, but very little headway was made, and at the call of time neither man seemed to have won. At this juncture, however, Mahbool Khan left the room, and in spite of repeated calls would not return. He was allowed two minutes grace, failing which Mr. Wirth announced they would declare in favour of Saxon, and as the Afghan did not return, Arthur Saxon, amid loud cheers, was declared the winner. This terminated the most interesting performance. We would advise those who have not done so already to pay Wirth's Circus a visit without delay. As already announced, performances will now take place every night in the Parsee Theatre, while on Saturday there will also be the usual matinee."

* * * * *

At Madras

Madras Times, January 17th, 1900

Wirth's Circus

The Brothers Saxon, "the strongest men on earth," next appeared, and performed some wonderful feats of strength; one of the feats was lifting a 325 lb. bar-bell with one hand above the head. This is said to be a world's record. The brothers, who are quite young, one is not 22 - so young and yet so strong - did many astonishing things. Among other was the balancing of the M.V.G Band on a board, which the young giant supported on his feet, whilst they in evident trepidation played dolefully, and the amateur Atlas juggled with some thousand pounds of bar and other bells. The man who could bear all this, and the music, must be indeed strong. Mr. Arthur Saxon offers to wrestle with anyone. Any takers?

Iron Nation
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