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Anonymous Cannon Ball Catcher

by | Jan 10, 2024

At first glance you might think those are globe dumbbells at this gent’s feet, but upon closer inspection, you’ll see that they are actually cannon balls of different sizes and weights.

…So we can conclude that this fellow either juggled them or caught them. Unfortunately we do not conclusively know his name but he very well may be John Holtum who was billed as “The Cannon Ball King” as he toured the music halls of Europe in the late 1800’s — although he may also be Alexandrini of Italy, who also caught cannon balls and performed around the same time.

This picture is decidedly NOT Charles P. Blatt who was the American Cannon Ball Catching champion (Blatt had no mustache.)

In 1893, Blatt and Holtum once faced off in a contest to settle for once and all who should rightfully be called the Champion Cannon Ball Catcher of the World — but the contest ended in a draw because they could not agree to the rules since Holtum preferred to catch his cannon balls with one hand while Blatt caught his with two. They also argued whose cannon should be used.

— I would have liked to see that either way.

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