Today is the birthday of Hans Steyrer (June 24, 1849-August 26, 1906). Born in the Allach district of Munich, by profession he was a butcher and an innkeeper. He became known as a “man of strength,” and was also known as “The Bavarian Hercules.” In addition, he also sported one impressive mustache, and became popular at many Oktoberfests in the late nineteenth century.
This is a short biography of him from his German Wikipedia page, translated by Google:
The son of a master butcher and innkeeper learned the butcher’s trade from his father. Even as an apprentice, he was able to lift every calf and every quarter of oxen on the hook and place a hectolitre on the ganter without help.
In 1879 the Herzog circus was looking for the strongest Bavarian and poster this campaign across Bavaria. Hans Steyrer won all competitions and finally went one better: With the strength of his right middle finger, he was the only one able to lift a 508 pound stone for a few seconds. Since then he has been called “the Bavarian Hercules.”
As a publicity stunt, Steyrer first wanted to pull festively decorated cars from his inn on Tegernseer Landstrasse through the whole of Munich to Theresienwiese in 1879. He himself drove on a four-in-hand truck loaded with beer barrels, followed by seven couples who carried the staff and the musicians. However, he did not arrive at the Oktoberfest at the time – in the city center he was stopped by the police and forced to turn back. The subsequent court proceedings ended with the innkeeper being sentenced to a fine, which, however, could not prevent him from repeating the move in the following years.
For years, Hans from Steyr was the tenant of the forester’s lodge at the Englischer Garten (Steinfeldstrasse 15, demolished), which had been converted into the “Wilhelm Tell” tavern, and ran a beer tent at the Oktoberfest as an Oktoberfest host.
And this account is from Munichkindl:
The Steyrer Hans invented the entry of the Oktoberfest hosts on the first Oktoberfest Saturday. He, who was called the ” Bavarian Hercules,” had leased a festival booth from the Pschorr brewery and drove for the first time in 1887 with brass music, his tap boys and the waitresses on seven decorated pairs and one four-in-hand towards Theresienwiese.
But the magistrate was not enthusiastic about this first small, privately organized pageant and let the Steyrer Hans stop when he stopped in the valley at the Weißbräu for a “standing measure.” He was sentenced to a heavy fine for ” gross mischief “and” disturbing public order,” which, however, was rather conducive to his popularity.
Soon afterwards, the Oktoberfest innkeepers officially moved in and the Steyrer Hans was the first to use silver-clad pompous harnesses for the Haflingers of his brewery team.
From 1879 to 1903, the Steyrer Hans was the host of the Oktoberfest twenty-five times. In the 1890s he was able to secure two adjacent booths and serve “Kraftbier” from the Spaten brewery there.
He was a trained butcher and landlord of several Munich inns, including the inn “Zum bayerischen Herkules” in Lindwurmstrasse. His later parent company was the “Tegernsee Garden” in Obergiesing.
He was a real Munich unique, also because he could lift a 528 pound stone with his middle finger or heave a 40-liter beer keg on the bar with his thumb and forefinger. His body mass index was not the best because he was just 1.70 m tall and weighed almost 130 kg. He was a real Kollos and wore a huge mustache , which the people of Munich said he had just sniffed an “Oachkatzl.”
According to Oldetime Strongman, “’The Bavarian Hercules Hans Steyrer is shown here with his signature lift: a one-finger lift of a heavy stone block, usually 500 pounds or more, combined with a muscle-out of a 50-pound kettlebell. Either one of these feats would be impressive by themselves, but doing them both at the same time put Steyrer in a league by himself. It should also be noted that Steyrer was the very first strongman ever photographed using kettlebells (at least to our knowledge.) This was around 1880 or so.”