Ottley Coulter was born in 1890 as the smallest male in a large family of big men, but through persistent training and good diet he managed to reach the highest strength level of them all. He is one of the few circus performers who had at least some kind of higher education, which his father insisted on.
His interest in strength and physical development came from Physical Culture magazine. He already had a good foundation from working on the father’s mill where he would lift bags of feed and barrels of flour. It wasn’t until 1911 that he started to work out seriously and that’s when he signed up for multiple training courses of leading physical culturists.
Even though he had a perfectly good business to run with is father, Coulter decided to be a professional strongman. Like all of us, he wanted a job that he enjoys and that pays good. Inspired by Eugen Sandow, Louis Cyr and other professional strongmen who were making good chunk of money as circus performers, Coulter wanted to follow their Roman-sandled steps and make a living out of it – which he did, to some degree.
As a strongman, Ottley Coulter performed many feats of strength and most of them involved cars running him over and supporting feats. He is now known as a bodybuilding’s first historian and some consider that he is the one who actually wrote Molding Mighty Men series by George F. Jowett, his partner at that time. What’s for sure is that he wrote “How to Perform Strong Man Stunts” where he explained how to perform following feats:
- How to Tear a Telephone Book in Half
- How To Tear A Deck of Cards In Half
- How To Drive a Spike Through A Board or Sheet of Metal
- How To Bend A Heavy Steel Spike With The Hands
- How To Lift A Man Overhead With One Hand
- How To Smash A Rock With A Blow of the Fist
- How to Support 1,000 Lbs. of Living Weight With Ease
- How To Life More With One Finger Than Others With Two Hands
- How To Lift And Swing A Man With Your Teeth
- How to Resist the Pull of Four Men
- How to Break a Spike with the Teeth