Slim "The Hammerman" Farman - The last of the legends
By Vic Boff
Reprinted with permission of The Iron Master
When Joe "The Mighty Atom" Greenstein passed away in 1977, Slim Farman took his place as the last of the legendary strongmen. In the tradition of his mentor, Farman is a living testament to awesome power and total determination.
Two years after Greenstein's death, Slim presented an outdoor strongman show in conjunction with the release of Ed Speilman's book, "The Mighty Atom, Biography of a Superhuman." It was part of the "New York is Book County" promotion where, to this day, numerous publishers are given a chance to exhibit their latest editions.
Slim gave the crowd a strength show they'd never forget. He broke heavy steel chains with his hands and on his chest; he laid waist to crowbars; and he drove spikes through two-inch thick pine lumber with a swipe of his hand. He then proceeded to bend a four-foot long, half-inch thick steel bar over the bridge of his nose. During the course of the day, he also bent some 200 nails, which were six inches long and 1/4 inch thick. He topped it all off by breaking his own world record in the leverage (or hammer) lift. This feat is the specialty that has earned him the nickname "The Hammer Man." It was almost as if the reincarnated spirit of the Mighty Atom was up there on that stage - and in a sense, it was.
Despite his admittedly slim build, Farman - whose real first name is Lawrence - is a regal figure who stands tall wherever he goes. At 6'6" and 212 pounds, Farman is a straight as a rod, and twice as vibrant as an arrow in flight. A man does not have to be a physical giant, with muscles bulging out like footballs, in order to perform great feats of strength. After all, sheer muscle quantity is not always an indication of manpower. In the final analysis, it is quality that counts, and this Slim has in abundance.
Farman has a pair of hands the size of Easter Sunday hams, with arms that resemble twisted columns of steel. His powerful, steely gaze is enough to make grown men quiver. His stunning will power and immense knowledge of leveraged strength techniques make it possible for him to deal with virtually any physical task. And, due to his close association with the Mighty Atom, Slim has been able to unlock his mind to find the self-hypnotic pathway to supernormal abilities.
His incredible concentrative powers have led Farman to many a strength record, but it his skill at leverage lifting that has made "The Hammer Man" as much a legend as anything else. Anyone who has ever tried to pick up a broomstick by gripping it at the very end can imagine how extraordinary that same feat would be with a sledgehammer. The sheer effort of such a daunting task is enough to stress--fracture the wrist bones on the average man. But Farman, the world record holder in the leverage lift, makes it look relatively easy.
Just to show that it's not so easy, Slim invites any volunteer from the audience to horizontally raise a 12-Lb. hammer - by it's end - from the floor. Needless to say, this is an all-but-impossible feat. But then Farman proceeds to lift a 24-Lb. hammer in the same manner with one hand! He lifts it up until it is at straight arm's length. Without moving his arm or bending an elbow, he lowers and touches it to his head, then brings it back to the vertical position. No other strength athlete is on record as having accomplished this feat. "The Hammer Man" has performed this lift for audiences as large as 18,000 people, as was the case in New York City's Madison Square Garden. His career has seen him go from local strongman to world-class strength performer, but he continues to relentlessly cling to his working class roots.
"The Hammer Man" never believes in taking he easy way out. When it comes to bending steel nails, spikes, of the like, Slim performs in the "Down" position: That is, holding the spike at the neck level, arms up, elbow sideways, and palms down. Then the arms are bent downward as the nail begins to "give." Try this yourself sometime, if only to get an idea of how next-to-impossible it actually is to do.
Such feats, however impressive, come almost naturally to Slim. From his teen years, he earned his keep by breaking tons of quarry rock - and doing it 14 hours a day, seven days a week. While toiling in the often sweltering heat of the quarry, located near his home outside of Pottstown, PA, Farman became virtually a contemporary version steel-driving, hammer-wielding men like the legendary John Henry.
This imposing master of the leverage lift and all-around strength great has no doubt "hammered" his way into the strongman's hall of fame. Now over 60 years of age, he has found his own dynamic niche, despite his well-known ties to the Mighty Atom. For sheer intensity and guts, you simply can't touch "The Hammer Man." When all is said and done, one stark fact remains clear: A legend walks among us! He's walking into the annals of history, hammer in hand.