All posts by Vintage Weights

Matysek Dumbbell

Matysek 1Matysek 2

The Matysek Dumbbell is 11 inches long, weighs approx 8 LBS empty and has a 7/8 inch hole to allow a pair of these dumbbells to be attached to a bar. This can be seen in the photo “Exercise lll”

Anton Matysek, 1892-1963, won the ” Strongest Man in America” award in 1922. He was also a professional strongman on stage.

One of his specialties  was a one hand lift of a  custom bicycle that held ” three furious peddling  riders” This can be seen in the Milo ad.

Matysek was the most famous of  the Milo students.

In Alan Calvert’s book “Super-Strength” Matysek is pictured on the front piece.

Like other strongmen of the time he published a book on “Muscle Control” and also had mail order body building courses in the 1920s.

For 10 cents you were sent a 48 page booklet “The Road to Success” His business walocated in Baltimore MD

.Matysek 9Matysek 7Matysek 10


Strongman 20 Strongman 8 These plates have a couple of interesting things about them. The misspellings you can see. The other thing, you wonder why  they weigh about half of the weight marked on each plate.  It also looks as though they may not have been made at the same time? If you have any information about these plates please leave a comment.Stongman 15 Stongman 15 green

The Automatic Exerciser & Monarch Bell

Ad for Prof schmidtKettlebell by Prof A P SchmidtAutomatic Exerciser by Prof A P SchmidtProf Schmidt Pat DateProf Barker advert.

Professor A P Schmidt claimed anyone could use his Automatic Exerciser. That you could not out grow it because the globe on the end could be filled to make it heavier  and the bar the globe rested on could be adjusted in or out to change the difficulty  of raising  the Exerciser. This can be seen in the ads. He also included  “Free of charge for a limited time only”, sound like today’s ads ?, “his new  and improved Monarch Combination Bell.” There are four different weight adjustable bells.

One bell can be seen in the  photo. This all sold for $ 15.00. There are ads very similar to the ones seen here in the 1910 issues of Physical Culture and The Saturday Evening Post Magazines. There were several models of the Automatic Exerciser over time.

.Schmidt Machine article


There are also smaller Zuver’s Gym plates of 35 lbs., 25 lbs., 10 lbs., 5 lbs., and 2-1/2 lbs. They have become very collectible and sought after, sometimes selling as high as $40.00 per pound at auction.

As a Zuver, I’m flattered that my dad’s Dream Plates have become so cherished among vintage iron collectors. I’m proud to say the 45 lb. plates pictured here are in the collection of the Great Gripster, Richard Sorin, and are on display at his Sorinex Facility in S. C.

The photo with the Reserved sign shows Zuver Plates being used as paper weights on Richard Sorin’s desk.

These, along with the famous Zuver’s Hall of Fame Gym Muscle Plates have become, to many, great iron symbols of the muscle world.

Gotta love ’em.

Robert Zuver