INCH 101: Part 21
Nov 3, 1912 regarding John Grun Marx:
"He gave a strong show of the old type, dumbbell and barbell lifting. He was a huge man, with enormous hands, standing over 6 ft. and weighing over 17 stone. He used to challenge anyone to lift his two dumbbells. They had enormous handles, and no one could do much with them.
Some said the handles were loose, and that there was some kind of trick. I don't know whether this was so, but I think the weight of them (over 100 lbs. each) and the thick handles were quite enough to safeguard his money without anything else."
Then Inch continues regarding the fact that Marx never tried to lift the Inch bell: "Personally, I don't think he could have lifted it, though I remember Pevier once told me that he [(Marx)] would have swung it."
Then Inch claims that because Saxon had more hand strength than Marx, and because Saxon failed to lift the Inch, he doubted that Marx would have succeeded. Of course, Inch waited until both these men were dead to make these statements.
Perhaps Inch was ignorant of Marx's ability to one hand deadlift, with either hand, a bell outweighing the Inch bell by about 54 lbs, the handle of which was 2.36", so .02" smaller than the 2.38" original Inch.
Frankly, anyone who does not think Marx could have increased the handle size by .02" and REDUCED the weight by 54 lbs and still have lifted it, is someone with whom I care not to discuss the situation. That person is free to skip merrily to wherever it is his mind is at peace. And I with clean shaven face and giddy smile will skip in the opposite direction where the facts and figures for forgone physiques foment.
INCH 101: Conclusion
Sometimes the most innocent looking data can be very revealing. In Health & Strength Nov 15, 1913, p. 510, there appeared the Official List of Professional Weightlifting Records in England. Edward Aston held 12 of those records, E.C. Smith one, J. Watson, one, and Thomas Inch held two.
Put your thinking caps on. Aston's one hand clean record was 243 lbs. When the lift turned into a one hand clean and jerk, his amount dropped to 199-1/2 lbs.
Inch, in regard to his two lifts did not have to one hand clean the weight. His right hand push record was 163-3/4 lbs, and when more strictness was demanded, his right arm military press amount descended to 106 lbs. and 10 ounces.
See a problem yet? Many years after this, Inch would claim that the full feat of lifting the 172 lb Inch bell was one hand clean and then overhead. He would further reflect that he had mastered this since about 1906. Well, here we are in 1913, after, according to his version, he had been putting the 172 overhead, at will, on dozens upon dozens of occasions.
Now the problem with the 172 of course was the thick 2.38" diameter handle. But if all Inch could push overhead with one hand in 1913 was about 8 lbs less than 172, how are we to accept the cleaning of the 172 by Inch AND PUTTING IT OVERHEAD for the past seven years?
Even if he could clean it, he lacked the strength, according to the record books, to push it overhead. Please do not mention bent press- Aston held that record at the time as well, and Inch NEVER even claimed to bent press the 172. Also, remember that a couple of years before this, Inch was down to a strength level that allowed only a 170 pound clean on a REGULAR diameter bar- which strength level would preclude clean two pounds more on a thick handled bar.
Further, as we now know from the scattering of Inch replicas around America, many men who can clean 172 lbs on a standard size barbell handle CANNOT in many cases even get the Inch replica off the floor, or at best, manage a deadlift.
ANYONE (read Mark Henry) who can clean the Inch replica, would certainly surpass Inch's one hand push record, and in spite of the bodyweight differences between Henry and Inch, actually because of that bodyweight difference, we are coming to understand that Inch had no basis upon which to make his claims in regard to the 172.
Inch asserted that Aston was unable to clean the Inch, indeed even clear the floor with it, but Aston held the one hand clean record of 243 lbs, not Inch. Could the thick handle make that much difference to Aston who, again, in the one hand clean and jerk managed the record of essentially 200 lbs?
Inch, in my view, and I no longer call it an opinion, because one must be a dunderhead not to read the facts as they have been preserved - not as they were presented, but preserved, and sitting around for years in yellowed magazine pages waiting for someone to thoughtfully read and compare all the variations.
Frankly, this I have done, and without arrogance may I remind students of the Inch 172, that until the research performed here at Ironhistory.com and the discussions on the grip board, no one, to my knowledge had ever asserted in print the conclusions we have revealed this year. Oh - there had been rare whispers about Inch switching bells, but the supposition seemed to prevail that had push come to shoving it overhead, he could have cleaned and put overhead the 172. I think we have presented facts and analysis to thwart that position.
Further, though certain websites and other sources may continue to assert that Inch was able to do what he claimed, they seem to make this assertion based on faith without study. But just as in working out with weights where progress is not made by simply repeating what is easy, so it is with the study of old time strongmen and feats of strength.
To simply cull unchecked facts and format new articles from them continues the original disservice of laziness. To those who bemoan that their sacred cows have been slaughtered, perhaps some other readers will acknowledge that it is rare in our medium that well done research yields such a meal of truth to enjoy. I began this study accepting that Inch was able to do what has always been claimed. Facts guided me to the opposite conclusion.