Thomas Topham was a strongman born around 1710 in London, where he was known as “The British Samson”. His strongman career started in his own pub, where he used to entertain the crowd by performing various feats of strength.
Topham performed many feats which are still popular today, but a lot of unique ones as well. For instance, one time he lifted 1386 lbs using a harness. You can check out this feat in the picture below and keep in mind that those barrel all filled with water.
Many were amazed by an extraordinary strength of Thomas Topham. Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers, who lived close to a place where Topham performed, wanted to find a scientific explanation for Topham’s great strength, so he decided to document his feats. A couple of feats from his writings:
- Teeth and Jaw feat - He lifted 100 pounds heavy table using his teeth and kept it in horizontal position for quite some time, with feet of the table resting against his knees
- Odd Object Lifting – He lifted 800 pounds heavy stone connected to a chain with his hands. He weighed only 200 pounds.
- Rolling feat – After rubbing his hands and fingers with coal-ashes (oldtime strongman version of chalk), he rolled up big pewter plate
Eventually, Dr John Theophilus Desaguliers was the one who made Thomas Topham famous, since he would take Topham to perform for him at meetings of the Royal Society, employ him as a personal bodyguard while he traveled and encourage him to perform at every location they went to.
If you’d like to learn how to perform feats of strength, click here.