by Thom Van Vleck
There were Ironman triathlons, Iron Man comics, Black Sabbath singing “I am Iron Man”, Iron Man movies…but when I think of Ironman…I think of Peary Radar’s old magazine and all the equipment he made over the years. In the JWC training hall we have had a pair of Ironman plates my Uncles (Wayne and Phil Jackson) ordered back in the 60’s. There is also a missing set. In case you didn’t know it, back then you could order them “milled” to exact weight or “unmilled” which were half as much in cost. With the “unmilled” you never knew what you were going to get. Both sets of plates were unmilled.
First, the plates I still have. They are thick around the edges and weigh 57.5lbs each while they have “50” on them….looks like my Uncle’s got their money’s worth on those babies! I have used them many times over the years because they are slightly larger than my other plates and are lifting from the floor and put these plates on it makes the others easier to slide on and off. Plus the fact that I gained 15lb seemed to be a psychological boost and let’s face it…they are just cool.
Now, to the story of the lost plates. They were what I’ll call a “thin” style plate. The one’s we had actually weighed 47.5lbs each. There was a local lifter that was a kid my Uncle was trying to help out. He loaned the plates to him and over time the kid kind of claimed them. That happened to my Uncle Wayne a lot! When I tried to get them back he had SOLD them! That also happened more than once. I remember them in vivid detail. They were thin, flat, with circular ridges that made them look like a bullseye. One of the plates had a chip out of it. I found the guy that bought them, but he gave them to his brother who lived out of state. After a couple of attempts and promises….I finally gave up on ever getting these back.
Now that was the early 80’s so fast forward almost 30 years. A good friend of mind called up looking for an incline and I had one. He said he wanted to trade some stuff including a pair of Ironman plates. When I got there I wish I could say they were he exact “long lost” pair….but they were not. However, they were a “spot on” twin…or twins! While not the exact pair, I am pretty pleased that somehow after all these years these plates seemed to fall right into my lap! A plus is I might have gotten a better deal as these are right on 50lbs each.
Needless to say, like everything in my gym, they will be put to use. And when I do….may I’ll have to put on some “Ironman” on the stereo!