This is a compilation of “firsts” in armwrestling. These are the earliest known documented instances of which I’ve come across in my research on armwrestling history. So “first” may not necessarily be the “absolute first”, but rather the “earliest known”. Should new knowledge come to light, the list will be updated.
1851 – FIRST ARM BREAK: Occurs in a New York saloon
1898 – FIRST PUBLICIZED CHALLENGE MATCH: A 2-out-of-3 match between self-declared Canadian Armwrestling Champion Alfred Prévost and A. Brien in Montreal. Announced in La Presse, one of Montreal’s leading newspapers. Mr. Prévost wins.
1898 – FIRST WRITTEN DESCRIPTION OF THE SPORT IN A BODYBUILDING MAGAZINE: In Eugen Sandow’s “Physical Culture” publication
1905 – FIRST TOURNAMENT / FIRST NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – In Montreal to crown inaugural Canadian armwrestling champions in three weight classes. Charles Tremblay wins the lightweight title, a Mr. Clairoux wins the middleweight crown, and Arthur Dandurand comes out on top of the heavyweight division.
1906 – FIRST COIN-OPERATED ARMWRESTLING STRENGTH TESTER – The Apollo Muscle Test, manufactured by the Caille Brothers
1925 – FIRST STRAP MATCH – A 3-out-of-5 challenge match for the title of Canadian Armwrestling Champion between reigning champ Théophile Massé and challenger Placide Laframboise (Montreal, Quebec). Their hands are tied together for all of the matches. Théophile successfully defends his title by winning by a score of 3-1.
1928 – FIRST ARMWRESTLING ASSOCIATION – Tetsu Yamamoto forms “The Yokohama Hand” in Japan (arm sumo)
1938 – FIRST ARMWRESTLING BOOK – Written by Tetsu Yamamoto
1948 – FIRST TABLE WITH ELBOW PADS – Made by Frederick Wakefield for the inaugural Vermont State Wrist-Twisting Championship
1955 – FIRST USE OF ARMWRESTLING IN A SALES PROMOTION – Challenge issued by used car dealership sales manager and professional wrestler Brute Bemis. Anyone who could beat him would receive a discount on a used car.
1957 – FIRST PURPOSE-BUILT STAND UP TABLE – Designed by Jack Homel for use in the 1958 World’s Wristwrestling Championship in Petaluma
1962 – FIRST SINGLE UNIT SIT-DOWN TABLE / FIRST TABLE WITH HAND PEGS – Built by Wes Knapp for the 1962 Oregon State Arm Wrestling Championships
1962 – FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – The World’s Wristwrestling Championship in Petaluma, California
1967 – FIRST MARKETED ARMWRESTLING STRENGTH TRAINING DEVICE – The Neil Lewis Arm Wrestling Trainer (Vancouver, Canada)
1970 – FIRST BROADCAST OF THE SPORT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION – ABC’s Wide World of Sports’ broadcast of the 1969 World’s Wristwrestling Championship
1972 – FIRST MAJOR CASH TOURNAMENT – The Carling World Wristwrestling Championships held in Timmins, Ontario, Canada. $500 is given to class champions and $100 is awarded to the runner-ups.
Researched and Written by: Eric Roussin