Friday, March 9, 2012

Gorilla Sideburns

Cornelius Vanderbilt (left) and Lobo the Gorilla.

The Sepia Saturday theme for this week is facial hair. I’ve always been fascinated by the 19th century extravagant sideburns (named after American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside). I think it’s a pity they went out of style. Luckily gorillas still think they are fashionable. Even the females appreciate them! Shown here is Lobo, a female gorilla residing in the Apenheul Primate Park.

A prime example of sideburn lovers are the Vanderbilt family. During the Gilded Age they were one the richest families on Earth. Their fortune was founded by Cornelius, who at the age of 16 started a ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan.

William H. Vanderbilt (Harper's weekly, December 1885).

His son William Henry Vanderbilt, frequently called a blatherskite by his father, managed to double the fortune, making him the richest man in the world (peak wealth: $231.6 billion).

next episode: William Munro

18 comments:

  1. Blatherskite -- what a great word! William's sideburns are too scary for me.

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  2. That's an amazing resemblance between Cornelius and the gorilla.Blatherskite is a great word--I never heard it before.

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  3. The side by side comparison pictures are so funny. Great job. Thanks for the bit of history lesson on the V.'s; I didn't know any of that ... and a billion was a lot back then.

    Kathy M.

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  4. Ha. I wonder what Vanderbilt would think if he could see himself beside the Gorilla. Did he have a sense of humor or would he be ape-palled.
    Nancy

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  5. Beard fashion then, ridicolous today! I like Nancy's word "ape-palled" that's brilliant.

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  6. I had a guy in my drawing class who had extravagant sideburns but nothing like these!

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  7. Thanks for the best laugh I've had all day! Enjoyed the pictures - those long sideburns were most unattractive. It's also interesting to learn how the term "sideburn" came to be.

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  8. That’s so clever to post those pictures side by side Rob. Those whiskers suit the gorilla better than the human!

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  9. Yes, a bit too much for my liking. I still see that look today in places too.

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  10. The photos of Cornelius and Lobo made me laugh out loud!!

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  11. Spectacular sideburns, and a spot-on match with the gorilla :-)

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  12. Guess humans and gorillas haven't changed that much from our common ancestor Rob

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  13. Certainly a great and funny spin on the theme!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  14. Oh, I'm flashing back on the '70s when sideburns were again popular. I really hated them. I knew the trend was on its way out when my father started growing his.

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  15. Hahahaha! I really like the fact that you made the connection between the Vanderbilt photo and the gorilla one and shared them both with us. What a good laugh!

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  16. Interesting origin of the name, and explains why the UK didn't use use the term at the time, it seems they were considered face furniture and called sideboards. After reading B&N's comment I had a look again at Cornelius and noticed he had laughter line on his eyes, although I don't know about Lobo.

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