History of the Saxon Trios: by Joe Roark

The three Saxon brothers were, at various times, part of some of the various groups called the Saxon Trio. By comparing various accounts written about the history of the evolving Saxon Trios, the following does not purport to be the final word on how the personnel of the groups changed personnel. It is, rather, offered with the hope that if other texts exist which vary from what is here outlined; this evolution can be supported or corrected by incorporating those texts into what may eventually become a correct, final analysis.


Life spans of the three Saxon brothers: [real family name was Hennig]

Arthur:     Apr 28, 1878 – Aug 6, 1921  age 43

Hermann: Mar 17, 1882- Dec 2, 1961   age 79 (I have also seen 1881 as birth year)

Kurt:         Mar 11, 1884- Sep 8, 1952 age 68

[for Kurt Sep 5, has been offered but Sep 8 is the date on his tombstone inscription]


Data Sources for the two versions of how the Saxon Trios Evolved:

The primary info for the first chronology came from comparing Gaudreau’s Anvils, Horseshoes and Cannons Volume 2, and Your Physique Apr 1947. The second chronology offered following this first is from Hermann Saxon’s account in Strength & Health magazine July 1961. Also consulted for both versions were The Super Athletes by Willoughby, The Iron Game by Webster, and occasional, sometimes brief, mentions of the various Saxon Trios in several other texts.


Keeping it simple: By not sidetracking into much information about the various members of the groupings, it will prove easier to remain focused on our aim here, which is, who came in and out of the revolving door to be a part of any group called a Saxon Trio. Also, I have listed the various trio changes as each having an identity and a number, even though, for example, Trio #2 and Trio #3 below regarding Loco are redundant and could be incorporated, but until the final answers are in, it is easier (for me) to note changes using this system, even though Trio #2 could easily be called Change #1. Confused? This was easiest way for me to cull the very confusing, differing accounts, into some semblance of progressive order.


Account #1: Evolution of the Saxon Trios:

Trio #1: The original [Arno, not Arthur] Saxon Trio consisted of three men who came from Saxony, and it began circa 1897/1898 and included:

Arno Saxon [Patschke], Oskard Hilgenfeldt, who left the group due to marriage, and Arthur Saxon. This trio played England, Ireland, and Scotland.


Trio #2: Arno Saxon, Somerton [ aka Loco] joined, stayed but a brief time, and Arthur Saxon.


Trio #3: Arno Saxon, Somerton [aka Loco] departed, and Arthur Saxon


Trio#4: Arno Saxon, Adolf Berg [Hillsberg] joined, and Arthur Saxon


Early 1899:

Trio #5: Arno Saxon departed, Adolf Berg [Hillsberg], and Arthur Saxon


Trio #6: Hermann Saxon, age 17, joined , Adolf Berg [Hillsberg], and Arthur Saxon. This apparently happened in early 1899 in England; by the end of 1899 Hermann joined Wirth’s Circus and toured South Africa, and broke his right arm in a mishap. Berg and Arthur went on to tour India, but Berg disliked the hot weather, so he and Arthur returned to England.


Circa 1903

Trio #7: Confusingly, this is sometimes called the Third Trio; Hermann Saxon rejoined the group, Adolf Berg [Hillsberg] departed, and Arthur Saxon.


Anvils, Horseshoes, and Cannons asserts that Hermann worked alone as ‘H. Maxim” before Kurt Saxon joined the group.


Circa 1903: The first Saxon Trio containing the three brothers:

Trio #8: Hermann Saxon, Kurt Saxon, and Arthur Saxon.


Circa 1903:

Trio #9: Hermann Saxon dropped out to work as a solo act under the name Hermann Maxim; less than a year later he rejoined the group. Kurt Saxon, and Arthur Saxon.


Trio #10: Adolf Berg [Hillsberg] rejoined the group, Kurt Saxon, and Arthur Saxon.


Trio #11: Adolf Berg [Hillsberg} departed. Kurt Saxon, and Arthur Saxon.


Trio #12: Hermann Saxon rejoined circa 1903, Kurt Saxon, and Arthur Saxon.


Account #2: Evolution of the Saxon Trio: from Hermann Saxon in S&H magazine July 1961:


Trio #1:  Arno [not Arthur] Saxon, Oskard Hilgenfeldt, and Arthur Saxon. This was the original Saxon Trio according to Hermann. This trio opened at Grand Theatre at Sheffield, England, while Eugen Sandow was at the same time booked at the Empire Theatre in the same town. Sandow jumped the stage on Saxon on Saturday night February 26, 1898; Saxon was then age 19 years and ten months.


Trio #2:Arno Saxon, Adolf Hillsberg joined, and Arthur Saxon. Played British Isles.


Trio #3: Arno Saxon departed in January 1899, Adolf Hillsberg, and Arthur Saxon.


Trio #4: Hermann Saxon age 16 joins the group. First show was at Felix’s Circus in the town of Stockport; worked around England some months then toured South Africa with Wirth’s Circus, staying three weeks in Capetown, where Hermann broke his right elbow in a plank mishap. NOTE: While this trio had been gone from England, they discovered that Arno Saxon had formed another trio consisting of himself, Oskard Hilgenfeldt, and Loco (who purported to actually be Arthur Saxon!) When this trio failed, Arno tried again by gathering Max Haschke, and Hermann Pappe. This trio also failed.


Trio #5: Hermann Saxon departed, Adolf Hillsbrg, and Arthur Saxon.


Trio #6: Arthur Saxon, Adolf Hillsberg, Kurt Saxon joins.

[Hermann Saxon worked solo as Hermann Maxim, then as Hermann Saxon]


In this time period, Hillsberg married a singer ‘more than a year passed’.


Trio #7: Arthur Saxon, Adolf Hillsberg departed, and Kurt Saxon.


Trio #8: Arthur Saxon, Hermann joined, and Kurt Saxon. This group worked together as The Arthur Saxon Trio from 1904 until 1913, then Arthur left his two brothers working in America so he could return home to spend time with his wife in England.


Duo #1: Hermann Saxon and Kurt Saxon now billed themselves as ‘The Original Brothers Saxon’.


May 1914: Arthur Saxon wrote to his brothers asking them to join him in Germany. They arrived in Hamburg July 16, 1914. Performed first in Leipzig, then joined the Circus Max Shuman in Geneva and Berm, Switzerland. World War One broke up Trio #9. Kurt and Hermann served in the war effort; Arthur went to Hamburg (he was blind in his right eye and not acceptable for military service) and joined the Carl Hagenback Circus and showed in Sweden and Denmark until the end of the war. After the war Kurt had a solo act in Bohemia. Hermann and Arthur had a Duo #2.


An Appeal:

As mentioned, this listing is not definitive, but has been composed from various sources (sometimes conflicting with each other), so if anyone has clarification and is willing to share it, then please contact me through the comment button in my regular Iron History column.