York Barbell Founder Bob Hoffman

Bob Hoffman 1932 founder of York Barbell Company

     Bob Hoffman 1932 founder of York Barbell Company

Ever pick up a weight at the gym and it had the word YORK stamped on it? Here’s a brief history of Mr. York himself.

Journal of Sport History. Vol. 14. No. 2 (Summer. 1987)

As a youth in western Pennsylvania, Hoffman excelled in many sports,
becoming an expert oarsman and canoeist. Dubbed the “iron man” of canoeing
by the press, he won the national quarter-mile championship in 1915 and the
world championship in 1925. Weight training served chiefly as a supplement to
his other athletic endeavors. After serving in World War I he entered the oil
burner business with a friend, Ed Kraber, in York and gained an acquaintance
with machines. patterns, foundries, and marketing.

He was the “world’s great-est salesman and promoter” is the view of all who knew him as a businessman.

But his successes in business and in other sports eventually became secondary
to the passion he developed for weightlifting in its own right. About 1925 he
organized what he alleged to be the first official weightlifting contest in
America and in 1927 won the national heavyweight championship. Two years
later Hoffman began making barbells and organizing a weightlifting team in the
oil burner factory. That the lifting platform was originally located in the middle
of the shop aptly characterizes the relationship of lifting in the York business.
His first revolving barbell was constructed in the machine shop on North Broad
Street by Ernie Zimmerman who had been a weightlifter in Germany in his
youth. In 1932 Hoffman organized the York Barbell Company and began
publishing Strength and Health magazine, which remains the chief historical
record of his association with the business and the sport. READ MORE HERE

Weightlifters. “Iron Man 45 (March. 19861. 59: “What’s Wrong With American Welghtlifting?”Strengh -Power
Update 1 (Fa11.1986): 2: and Herb Glolssbrenner. “World Weightlifting. Why We’re at the Bottom.” Iron Man 46
(March. 1987). 14-16
165

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