The Sculptor's Dream marked the end of Monte's stage career - he wanted to do other things, but what of brother Frank? Court Saldo's 1950 memoir of his uncle gives the best account - "Frank forsook the footlights and strongman sphere after serving in World War I, and proving that he had brains as well as brawn, became a lecturer on physical education at the University of London. Those University students who remember him as Frank H Woollaston MIH, leading light in so many sports organisations and for 12 years president of the University Boxing Association, might be surprised to know that as Frank Saldo he was once a noted muscle man of the Sandow era, a Health & Strength Magazine cover man and, like his famous brother Monte, had lived, travelled and appeared on stage with the great Eugen Sandow while still a youth."
Monte now embarked on the next stage of his career, in partnership with William Bankier who at this time was a wrestling promoter known professionally as Apollo the Scottish Hercules, and together they opened the Apollo- Saldo Academy in the West End of London. Apollo had been a great strength athlete with a completely genuine act in which he harness lifted an elephant, and to demonstrate his versatility, performed a backward somersault over a low chair, carrying a 56 lb weight in each hand. He would jump over a chair carrying an 112lb weight and would then demonstrate his skill as a juggler by standing on the backs of two chairs and juggling two dinner plates while lifting a man overhead balanced on his right hand. He was a so one of the outstanding wrestlers of his day and a superb showman who was so well respected in show business circles that at one time the Variety Artistes' Federation appointed him "King Rat", regarded as the highest honour an Artiste can attain.

WILLIAM BANKIER -
'APOLLO, THE SCOTTISH HERCULES'
MONTE SALDO'S PARTNER IN THE
APOLLO-SALDO ACADEMY

 

THREE DRAWINGS
DEPICTING PART OF WILLIAM BANKIER'S STAGE ACT

 

 

A DRAWING DEPICTING WILLIAM BANKIER
LIFTING THE BOSTOCK CIRCUS'S LARGEST ELEPHANT
- 32 CWT

 

Among Monte's many talents he was an outstanding wrestler, and as the Apollo-Saldo Academy attracted many of the world's best wrestlers, he had plenty of opportunity to perfect his skill in the sport he regarded as "my real hobby". He became friends with many of the leading names in wrestling, George Hackenschmidt, Ferdy Gruhen, Maurice Deriaz, Zbysco, and the winner of over 1,000 contests and Lightweight Wrestling Champion of the World, gold and silver medalist in the 1908 Olympics, London born George Relwyskow. From the latter, Monte gained much of his practical experience and became so good at his "hobby" that he became un-throwable by anyone he wrestled with under the middleweight limit, and even became skilled enough to throw many heavyweights.

The Apollo-Saldo Academy was not just a mecca for wrestlers; great names in many sports visited and trained there. That wonderful strongman Arthur Saxon, whilst on a visit, performed one of the greatest lifts in iron game history. Although not an official lift, Arthur Bent Pressed 386 lbs and it was weighed and witnessed by the much-respected Bill Klein, the editor of Heath & Strength John Murray, and William Bankier.

Tromp Van Diggelen, the prominent South African strongman and physical culture expert, had brought Maxick over to Britain to challenge Thomas Inch for the Professional Middleweight Championship of the World, and one day brought Maxick to the Academy and introduced him to Monte. Maxick demonstrate his strength and athletic skills and as he could speak little English at that time, all three conversed in German. Monte was impressed, not only with Maxick's ability, but also with his likeable personality and the range of his knowledge, and the beginning of a lifelong friendship was formed. The match with Thomas Inch never did take place, but it did result in two rather unsatisfactory matches between Maxick and Thomas Inch's "heir apparent" the great Edward Aston. For details of the Maxick/Inch/Aston saga, may I refer you to my companion article on the Maxalding Website, entitled "Marvellous Max".

 

 

MAXICK - ON THE RIGHT
WITH THE MAN WHO INTRODUCED HIM TO MONTE SALDO IN 1909 -

TROMP VAN DIGGELEN

 


Monte now entered the period of his life when he would be acclaimed as one of the greatest of trainers. He went into partnership with Maxick, and they pooled their knowledge and years of experience into developing a postal physical culture system based on the scientific application of muscle control, body leverage, auto-resistance, bodyweight resistance and mental concentration that would improve strength, speed, stamina and muscular development, without the aid of any training equipment. It was first marketing under the name of Maxaldo but later became Maxalding. Monte also found time to be involved in the formation of the official governing body for professional weightlifting. After much discussion, the British Amateur Weighlifting Association (BAWLA) came into being in early 1911, along with the British Weightlifting Association to look after the interests of the professionals. Monte served on the committee of the latter, along with other strength legends such as Thomas Inch, Edward Aston, W.L. Carquest and the pioneer strandpuller Alfred Danks.
As well as personally training a vast number of Maxalding postal pupils, Monte backed and trained a number of champion weightlifters on a one-to-one basis. When that great strength athlete Edward Aston challenged Thomas Inch for the title Britain's Strongest Man, he put himself in the hands of Monte in preparation for the match. Monte drastically changed Aston's training methods; out went the daily two-hour training sessions with maximum poundages, to be replaced by twice-weekly sessions of four or five heavy singles of each competition lift, and five intermediate days spent on technique and flexibility training, together with a lifestyle conducive to energy conservation, a predominant feature in Monte's training methods. In studying Aston's energy levels throughout the day, Monte observed that at the time of day that his match with Inch was due to take place, Aston's energy levels wore quite low, so he set about altering Aston's body clock to ensure that he arrived at the testing hour bursting with energy.

The outcome was a victory for Aston in a match described by the legendary W A Pullum as "easily the most sensational match ever held in this country", and although Inch outweighed him by 33 lbs, Aston achieved a decisive victory setting many records. Aston was moved to declare Monte Saldo "the greatest of trainers".

Many trainers of the day were quite knowledgeable in the art of reducing bodyweight where necessary, but this was often accompanied by a loss of strength and energy. However Monte was very skilled in reducing his pupils' bodyweight whilst at the same time actually increasing their strength and energy levels, and there was no finer example than that of Albert Soguel who, at 5'7" tall and weighing 10st 71bs (147Ibs), was matched against W L Carquest for the 9st 71bs (133Ibs) Professional Weightlifting Championship of the World held in 1911. Although Soguel was 147lbs of "bone and muscle", he managed to weigh in for the match at only 132lbs and won the world title, his outstanding lift being a One-hand Snatch 121lbs heavier than his own bodyweight.

In November 1912, at the Camberwell Baths, many of the great names of the British professional strength world got together and staged a "Rally of the Strong"; among those appearing were Monte Saldo, Thomas Inch, Edward Aston, Alfred Danks, L Warrington (Britain's Strongest Boy), and that outstanding all-round Scottish athlete Donald Dinnie and, although still an amateur, BAWLA gave special permission for Camberwell's most famous strongman W A Pullum to appear. Monte was in fine form and set a world record of 150 lbs for the Right Hand Swing, his bodyweight at the time being 143lbs.

In that same year, Monte organised a Benefit Rally to raise funds to help the man regarded as "the father of British weightlifting", Professor Szalay, who was in a bad way financially after losing a court battle with Eugen Sandow. Monte had no trouble persuading many of the great names of the strength world to take part because they had a great respect and affection for the Professor, and the proceeds from the gate money greatly eased his financial plight. In 1913, Monte again demonstrated his expertise at scientific bodyweight reduction when he trained Adam Werkman to win the British 7st (98lbs) Amateur Weightlifting Championship, reducing him from 7st 7Ibs to 6st 3lbs, and he again repeated this scenario with Jack Hayes to win the 8st (112Ibs) British Amateur Weightlifting title in 1914. He also trained and backed J.W. Schofield to win the professional 11st (154lbs) British Championship.

SOME CHAMPIONS TRAINED
BY MONTE SALDO

 

EDWARD ASTON

PROFESSIONAL MIDDLEWEIGHT
CHAMPION OF THE WORLD, 1910
AND
WINNER OF THE TITLE
'BRITAIN'S STRONGEST MAN', 1911

 

 

ALBERT SOGUEL

9-STONE 7-LBS PROFESSIONAL
WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPION OF THE WORLD
IN 1911

 

 

JACK HAYES

BRITISH 8-STONE WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPION
1914

 

 

ADAM WERKMAN

BRITISH 7-STONE WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPION
1913

 

 

JIM SCHOFIELD

OVER 40 YEARS AFTER HE WON THE 11-STONE WEIGHTLIFTING CHAMPIONSHIP OF BRITAIN

 

 

BILL HUNT

AT THE TIME HE BEAT CHARLES VANSITTART'S
50 YEAR OLD
LEVER LIFT WITH FIVE BILLIARD CUES

 


The fourth of August 1914 marked the start of World War I (1914-18) and Maxick was interned for the duration so his participation in the Maxalding business came to an end. Jack Hayes, who gave credit for his improvement in lifting to Monte, had looked all set to repeat his victory in 1915, but like many thousands of young British men, he served his country in the war. He received a very serious head wound, but fortunately recovered after surgeons fitted a silver plate in his skull. He got fit and strong and went on to win the 1920 British 8st (112Ibs) Amateur Championship and retained the title for a number of years.
Another casualty of the war was Alan P. Mead, who lost a leg in the conflict and on being shipped home, placed himself in the capable hands of Monte and even with his immense handicap, made wonderful progress in strength and development, later becoming a physical culture teacher. His amazing physique forever earned him a place amongst the all-time greats, but he never forgot Monte or his son Court and they corresponded regularly over the years. As late as 1959, Court Saldo still had in his office a large weighty file containing Alan P. Mead's case history and a letter dated 1951 giving Court permission to use some of his photographs.

 

ALAN P. MEAD

WHO TRAINED UNDER MONTE SALDO WHEN HE RETURNED TO ENGLAND AFTER WORLD WAR I (1914-1918)

 

 

ALAN LOST PART OF HIS RIGHT LEG IN THE CONFLICT
BUT OVERCAME THIS DISABILITY TO BECOME ONE OF THE
BEST BUILT MEN OF HIS GENERATION AND
AN OUTSTANDING PHYSICAL CULTURE TEACHER IN HIS OWN RIGHT

 

Among the lesser-known pupils who placed themselves in Monte's hands after World War I wrecked their health was Battery Sergeant Major Harry Nicholls who, through Maxalding, rebuilt his health and strength and in the process gained an outstanding physique and became a good all-round athlete. He returned to active service and had a long and distinguished career in the Indian Army, continuing regularly to practise his Maxalding exercises for the rest of his long life.

Alan P. Mead and Harry Nicholls were just two of the many who used the Maxalding system to help them regain their lost health that the war had deprived them of, but 1 feel that it is only right to mention here that along with Monte, Thomas Inch and W.A. Pullum were also doing great work in helping to rebuild the health and strength of wounded servicemen.

After the end of World War I, Monte concentrated his energies on his postal pupils and through advertising and word of mouth passed on by his many satisfied pupils, it became a worldwide success. A number of members of the medical profession took an interest in Maxalding and on investigation, found that all the claims made on its behalf by its founders were 100% genuine, and many of them became Maxalding pupils.

Monte gave many lectures, and the most notable of these was given in the Royal Horticultural Hall at the New Health Society's Exhibition in 1927, when Monte introduced to the audience the young man who was soon jointly to run the Maxalding postal business with him, his teenage son Court Saldo. Court demonstrated the exercises and controls while Monte lectured on the health and strength benefits of the system.

 

17 YEAR OLD COURT SALDO
WHEN APPEARING AT THE NEW HEALTH SOCIETY
EXHIBITION AT THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL HALL
IN 1927

 

Monte authored or co-authored a number of books; Maxick's Muscle Control book was jointly written by Monte and Max. As previously stated, Maxick's English was not very good, so he wrote his life story section in German and Monte, who could speak fluent German, translated, but all the descriptions of the various controls in the book and in the Maxalding system, e.g. the terms "Muscle Control", "Abdominal Isolation", "Transverse Abdominal Roll", "Scapula Controls", etc., were all coined by Monte himself. As well as the Maxick Muscle Control book, they jointly produced "Great Strength by Muscle Control", and "How to Become a Great Athlete". In addition, Monte wrote "Maxalding for Health and Strength", "How to Pose", and "How to Excel at Games and Athletics."

Many thousands of postal pupils not only improved their health and strength by following Monte's and Court's teachings, but also found that with improved muscle control, they also Improved their performance in their chosen sport, and there were many letters in The Maxalding files to back up this statement. The famous athlete and Olympic coach Colonel F.A. M. Webster wrote to Monte and Court - "The mention of javelin throwing will remind you of the time we spent together planning exercises that would enable me to go after the English Native Record. I believe, with the aid of Maxalding, we could build up jumpers and throwers to beat the world." The wonderful athlete W.G. George, who held the world mile running record for 37 years, investigated Maxalding in1922 and wrote an article endorsing the system, being of the opinion that the Maxalding respiratory exercises were of great value in aiding stamina building for athletes. Bill Hunt, an outstanding strongman and professional hand balancer, thought he had reached his peak in strength and development, and while touring with his act the Omega Trio, found that transporting his barbells and dumbbells presented all sorts of difficulties, so he abandoned his weights and trained under Monte and the Maxalding system. He not only passed his "sticking point" and improved in strength and development, but broke a weightlifting record without training with the weights, and in addition performed an amazing total of 16 Tiger Bends and the improvement in his already outstanding grip strength enabled him to beat the legendary grip specialist Charles Vansittart's 50 year old Lever Lift with 5 billiard cues. When he levered up 6 cues in front of the committee of respected officials, Monte and Court presented Bill with a magnificent 3ft high silver trophy to commemorate his outstanding achievements.

Monte was very proud of the fact that that wonderful Egyptian heavyweight champion lifter and world record holder El Saied Nossier was a Maxalding pupil in his youth. The great all-round athlete James Evans wrote, "If it had not been for the careful manner in which you conducted my training, I should have still been in the queue." Bert Loveday, winner of many physical excellence titles, wrote "I, like some, shall not hide the fact that I have used Maxalding in my training."

I feel that a case history worth mentioning is that of Doctor R.J. Kesall ND DO FFSc(Lon), who had a defective heart valve as a result of rheumatic fever in his youth but was able, through Maxalding, to develop an excellent physique, and sent Monte and Court a series of progress reports over a period of 30 years.
Monte and Court continued to run their postal business together until the start of World War II in 1939. The war brought tragedy to the Saldo family: Court and his brother Charles both served their country during the conflict and sadly Charles was killed in action on the Continent. The family home in London was heavily bombed, killing Monte's wife and seriously injuring his daughter Theresa, and Monte himself suffered severe spinal and internal injuries. Monte never recovered from the loss of his wife and son, and complications later set in as a result of his injuries, and he passed away in 1949 in his seventieth year.

Monte's surviving son Court continued to run the Maxalding business until his own death on 13 March 1983.

 

COURT SALDO

HE DEVOTED HIS LIFE TO TEACHING MAXALDING,
EXCEPT FOR 5 YEARS WITH THE ARMY PHYSICAL TRAINING
CORPS DURING WORLD WAR II

 

Many fine tributes were paid to Monte during his life, but one that stands out in my mind is the one paid to him by the no-nonsense strongman and weightlifting champion of England 1901-1911, Tom Pevier - "He excels as a trainer, his knack of imparting knowledge and the quickness with which he discovers and remedies faults are phenomenal."

MONTE'S MEASUREMENTS

Height 5'5"
Weight 147 lbs.
Neck 17"
Chest 45 ½"
Upper Arm 16"
Forearm 13"
Waist 30"
Thigh 23"
Calf 15 ½ "


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This page Copyright © 2001 Roger Fillary & Gil Waldron : Text Copyright © 2001 Ron Tyrrell