He is known for the Thomas Inch dumbbell, known as "172", a dumbbell that weighs 172 lbs and 9 ounces. It was extremely difficult to lift, partly due to its weight, but primarily because its handle was very thick (2 3/8 inches in diameter) making it difficult to hold onto without an outstandingly strong grip. There were numerous reports that there was a hole in the original 'bell, in which Thomas would place a nail; thus allowing him to arrest any rotation and lift it.
In 1909 he refused to compete in a weightlifting match against the Austrian strongman Max Sick (Maxick), who had recently arrived in London. However, by 1910 Inch had become a heavyweight and so relinquished his middleweight title to Edward Aston, and a competition was quickly arranged against Sick.
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