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January 27, 2017

The Tallest Man in History: 18 Amazing Vintage Photographs Captured Daily Life of the "Giant of Illinois" in the 1930s

The tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence is Robert Pershing Wadlow (born at Alton, Illinois, USA on 22 February 1918), who when last measured on 27 June 1940, was found to be 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall.

Robert died on 15 July 1940 in a hotel in Manistee, Michigan, as a result of a septic blister on his right ankle caused by a brace, which had been poorly fitted only a week earlier.

Robert's greatest recorded weight was 222.71 kg (35 st 1l b) on his 21st birthday and he weighed 199 kg (31 st 5 lb) at the time of his death.

His shoe size was a huge 37AA (47 cm long), he had an arm span of 2.88 m (9ft 5.75 in), and his hands measured 32.4 cm (12.75 in) from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger.

Robert's peak daily food consumption was 8000 calories - more than three times the amount recommended for average-sized males.

At the age of nine, he was able to carry his father Harold F. Wadlow (d. September 1967) later Mayor of Alton, who stood 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) and weighed 77 kg (170 lb), up the stairs of the family home.

His last words were “The doctor says I won't get home for the... celebrations” (a reference to his paternal grandparents golden wedding).

Wadlow at age 10, c.1928.

Wadlow with his mother and brother, 1935.

Wadlow at age 17 with his brothers, 1935.

In a nod to Gulliver's Travels, performers from Ringling Brother's Circus tie up Wadlow as a means of getting acquainted, c.1937.

"Major Mite" of the Ringling Brothers Circus compares hand sizes with Wadlow, c.1937.

"Major Mite" compares his size 4 shoes with Wadlow's size 36, c.1937.

Wadlow stoops for a drink during a visit to the Daily News offices in New York, c.1937.

c. 1937

Wadlow chats with a friend after appearing at a charity event in Omaha, Nebraska, Apr. 1, 1937.

April 15, 1937

April 1937

Wadlow travels aboard the Queen Mary, April 1937.

The Wadlows at dinner, c.1938.


Wadlow is fitted for a jacket, 1939.

c. 1939

c. 1939

Wadlow visits an orange grove in Miami, Florida, 1940.

(Photos © Getty Images, via Mashable/Retronaut)



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