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Ethardo , Italian-born international acrobat and spiral ascensionist

January 9, 2013

Ethardo (Steve Ethardo, 1835-1911),
Italian-born international acrobat and spiral ascensionist
(photo: E. Gregson, Halifax and Blackpool, England, circa 1865/66)

‘Accident to a Gymnast. – Ethardo, the spiral ascensionist, appeared during a three days’ gala at York last week. His trick is to walk on the top of a globe, which with his feet he takes along with him upon a spiral and ascending platform until he attains a dizzy height. In the accomplishment of this, Ethardo has never yet come to grief, but on Saturday morning his life was endangered in a rather singular manner. He and his coloured servant, named Jacob Simmons, were engaged in taking down the structure upon which the feat had been performed, the mainstay of which was a long pole which is in two parts, the bottom of the upper half being let into a socket in the top of the lower. To get down the upper half another long pole had been fastened to the lower, and upon this Simmons was engaged at an elevation of about thirty feet, and Ethardo a little below him, when one of the stays gave way, and the poles and those upon them came down to the ground with a sudden crash. Ethardo, by his agility, [saved] himself from harm, with the exception of a severe shaking, but Simmons was for long insensible, and had to have surgical attendance. During the day he came round again, but though just able to walk, he appeared to suffer severely from his accident.’
(Sunday Times, London, Sunday, 28 June 1868, p.3f)

For further information, see John M. Turner, A Dictionary of Circus Biography, Lingdales Press, Formby, 1995, p.43. See also a short article from Harper’s Weekly, New York, 10 February, 1866, quoted on the Circus Historical Society web site.

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