A few of the photographs of the strong women pictured in this post date back to the start of the previous century, the 1900s!
But the “strong woman” attraction has been around for a lot longer- since the 1700s, actually. Back in those times, famous women like the “Female Italian Samson” and the “Little Woman from Geneva” showed the world just how powerful they were, by carrying a massive amount of weight on their back or easily lifting several men in their arms.
The ‘Great Sandwina’ aka, Katie Brumbach.
When the 1800s rolled around, it became more common to see the strong women attraction in circuses and sporting events. Eventually, those impressive women paved the way for similar status-quo-breaking ladies, like wrestlers and bodybuilders.
One of the most widely-recognized names as far as ‘super women’ goes, was Katie Brumbach, or as she was commonly known, the “Great Sandwina.”
Brumbach would amaze audiences by raising her husband above her head using only one arm. She also lifted 300 pounds with nboth arms. She later joined the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where she was a powerlifter. During that time, her main attraction was snapping iron bars with her bare hands.
There are several other notable women in this post, like Kate Roberts who went by the name “Vulcana,” and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, as well as Joan Rhodes who liked to spend her time bending iron rods with her teeth and breaking nails with her bare hands.
‘Vulcana’ (aka Kate Roberts).
Abbye ‘Pudgy’ Stockton.
Another shot of Ivy Russel’s impressive physique.
The ‘Great Sandwina.
‘Vulcana’ early 1900s.
Stanil Lawa, 1930s.
‘Iron Woman’ circus performer, 1905.
The ‘Great Sandwina’ lifting her husband over her head.
Strong woman and acobat Louise Leers (aka Luise Krökel), 1930s.
Another vintage circus ‘strong woman’ flexing for the camera.
By Raven Fon