Donated to the Stark Center by Phyllis Jowett, the Jowett Anvil belonged to the late George F. Jowett. George, as many individuals are aware, was a British-Canadian physical culturist who, among other things, helped further the cause of American bodybuilding and weightlifting. A strong man in his own right, Jowett’s claim to fame was undoubtedly his 172 lbs. anvil. In weightlifting and bodybuilding magazines, Jowett claimed he could grip its “horn” with one hand, clean it to the shoulder by flipping it at the tip of the pull and catching it in his hand, and then press it to arm’s length. The difficultly of this feat should not be underestimated and indeed, many strength historians dispute Jowett’s claim to be able to clean the anvil.
Despite individual’s incredulity, two photographs of Jowett and the anvil exist – one showing him supposedly pulling it past his thigh and the other showing him holding the anvil at his shoulder with one hand. These oft published images are often taken as proof of Jowett’s strength. Is it likely he did cleaned the anvil? Probably not. But for visitors to the Stark, the anvil demonstrates the weird and wonderful of physical culture.