Sunday, July 17, 2022

I Visited Iron Man -- Wayne Gallasch (1984)


In this photo we see Wayne Gallasch, on the left, who is the author of this article and who took the photos accompanying. In he middle is a sign in front of Iron Man Industries complex of buildings and next to that are Mabel and Peary Rader, the editor of Iron Man. In the background is a motor home which is also a part of Iron Man as they sell recreational vehicles and most particularly motor homes. That's a Sports Coach in the back which is known as one of the finest motor homes in the industry. 

Over the last 16 years I have written countless letters to Peary and Mable Rader (above), in Alliance, Nebraska, enclosing photos, articles and hundreds of subscriptions. However, Alliance seemed like it could be on another planet, as it is so far away from my home city of Adelaide, approximately 12,000 miles southwest of Nebraska.

This year I finally had to opportunity to visit with Peary at Iron Man Industries, as Tom Lincir of Ivanko Barbell Company and I were attending the N.N.F.A. Health Food Convention in Denver, just one hour's flying time from Alliance by light aircraft. We made the early flight with a minute to spare, getting lost on the way to the Denver Airport.

On arrival in Alliance, a small farming town of 7700 people, right in the center of the USA, we were met by Peary and Mabel and taken back to their office. I was treated with such warmth and kindness that this day's visit was a very special event I will never forget, and I endeavored to learn as much as possible about Peary's lifetime efforts in developing Iron Man as I could. I was kindly allowed to take all the photos I wished as I knew this was an experience that may not come my way again.

I was amazed by the huge stock and variety of gym equipment contained in several large storage buildings. 

In the photo below, which is a winter scene on a dull, dark day and taken at a different time than the other photos by a different photographer, you see a view of the complex of several buildings that make up a part of Iron Man Industries on several lots. The building on the right is a Quonset with two floors and that building is completely full of Body Culture equipment. it is believed that Body Culture and Iron Man have the largest stock of gym equipment in the country. There are over 100 different models and several pieces of each model in various weights from heavy duty to extra heavy duty and super heavy duty. There are also a few pieces which are called monster duty and are made with thick walled 4" uprights on the benches. People will hardly believe it when they see it for the first time.

It was heavy duty, and quite a surprise to me, as I am also in the equipment business and did not expect to find here in Alliance the largest warehouse of equipment i have ever seen. Many customers visit Iron Man to personally collect their equipment and also it is shipped to all parts of the USA. In some parts of the warehouse, the equipment was packed so tightly there was hardly room to walk.  

In the main building of the complex you saw above is the press room as well as the plate making department and bindery. Above is one of the two presses on which Iron Man is run off. The press room and the bindery and so on is supervised by Gene Rader, Peary and Mabel's son. Gene's wife, Janice takes care of the composition in another room which is also housed in the middle of the big building. The offices are also there where various people work. The main office is in the middle and it is supervised by Mabel Rader and several other girls work in there. On the right of the main building is Peary's private office and also the large room in which he works on making up the magazine. We might also mention that among other things Peary was involved for about 20 years in the importation and sale of European printing equipment. At the present time most printing equipment installed and used in America is imported from some other countries. Iron Man Industries has also over years done considerable amounts of outside job printing with their fine printing plant. So you can see that Iron Man provides enough variety and work for almost anybody and it certainly keeps Peary and Mable busy for about 10 or 12 hours a day. 

My next surprise was the total printing process carried out at Iron Man Industries from the layout, making of black and white negatives to the printing of the magazine on a huge press, installed by Peary as he is quite a printing engineer as well as master printer. The printing is now done by Peary's son Gene. The press prints eight pages at a time and these are then cut and folded to produce the finished magazines. It is generally agreed that Iron Man is the most respected magazine in the field, and over the last 48 years, Peary and Mabel have built the magazine from a tiny news letter to a superb 100 plus page magazine. 

In another corner of the building there is an assorted pile of brightly colored ELEIKO Olympic plates from Sweden, IVANKO weights and other small Body Culture Equipment items. How Peary controls this conglomeration of magazine work, equipment sales, printing equipment and motor homes is beyond my comprehension unless he works a 15 hour day, which I suspect he does.

On a lighter note, I feel I should mention the famous strip of lawn in front of the Iron Man offices which Peary states is the world's worst lawn. I cannot disagree, and with a little luck the lawn (weeds) may die this winter so that a fresh start can be made! 

Peary writes his famous editorials from a small office adorned with plaques and awards paying tribute to his many years of support to bodybuilding and weightlifting. As an avid opponent of smoking, I was pleased to note the "Thank You for Not Smoking" signs displayed, and I only hope that every business will soon be displaying these signs.

I also saw files bulging with photos that have been sent in over the years, articles uses and waiting to be used, a complete set of Iron Man magazines together with hundreds of other bodybuilding magazines and weight training books. I saw Peary's basement home gym, complete with Magic Circle which he still uses and other items he has collected over the years.

My final indulgence was a personal one and that was browsing through the many books and courses stocked by Iron Man and in most cases, printed by them as well. I am an avid book collector and it was a purchase of books for my local mail orders back in the mid-Sixties which was my first contact with the Raders. I am still involved with books, and on this day was able to peruse many new titles before ordering for Australia.

The day's visit had passed very quickly and I felt exhausted from all I had seen as well as suffering from jet lag from the long journey from Australia. I must pay tribute to the tremendous support given Peary by his wife Mabel. She has enormous energy, drive and enthusiasm and it will be a sad day when Iron Man is no longer published by the Rader family. 

May they continue in strength for many more years, and it has been my privilege to be involved with such fine people spreading the gospel of WEIGHT TRAINING AS PART OF A FULL AND BALANCED LIFE.

Although many bodybuilders and weight trainers visit Alliance, I can't ever recall an article concerning a visit to Iron Man Industries due to Peary's extreme modesty. I thank Peary for allowing me to write this brief report so that I may share my experience with all readers of Iron Man. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!    

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