World Beard & Moustache Championships!

This weekend, Trondheim, Norway hosted the biannual World Beard & Moustache Championships! As reported by BBC News, the winner was German hairdresser Elmar Weisser, who sculpted his beard into a reindeer.

In 2005 he won with with a beard styled into the shape of Berlin’s Brandenberg Gate, and in 2007 with a representation of London’s Tower Bridge.

He said he had begun preparing his creation for the Trondheim event at 7am, with the help of his sister.

“When my beard isn’t styled, it goes down to my waist. It is sort of folded up,” he told the AFP news agency.

There are more pictures (from previous years) here at CNN, and I am also pleased to report that Official Wondermark Beard Correspondent Pat Race is on the scene in Norway as well!

Pat and his Beard Team Alaska Robotics entered the competition as part of the American contingent. On his blog he’s been keeping a travel journal, including a ton of great pics and audio interviews with competition participants.

Pat’s also been updating a Flickr stream with photographs from the trip and the competition. Note that Pat called the winner beforehand, in an email to me — this is a keen beard observer. Or perhaps the reindeer beard was just obviously unstoppable in every way.

Check out more on-the-scene photos from the 2011 (and the 2009) WBMC on Pat’s Flickr!

Smithsonian Beard Survey presents: “Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair?” — a gallery of twenty-four incredible face-coifs, with voting privileges. Click on each photo for a neat little bio of each person, as well as wonderful examples of Civil War-era photography, which still looks amazingly crisp even today.

Thanks to Christy, Scott, Frank, Clint, folks on Twitter and the million others who sent this my way! I am glad to have people instantly think, “I know who needs to see this.”


“A Beard’s Eye View of Nineteenth-Century U.S. Politics,” sent in by faithful Marksman Will H., is a description of a Penn State grad student project:

Why did millions of American men begin sprouting facial hair in the 1850s? And why did most of them cut it off by the early decades of the twentieth century? […] To investigate that question, and with some indispensible technical support from my father, I’ve begun putting together a database of nineteenth century politicians and their facial hair.

More here.


Some answers to the questions posed above. Here is a new transcript of my interview with the world’s foremost beard expert, Dr. Christopher Oldstone-Moore. I’ve linked the audio from this interview before — but now I’ve also textified it for greater readability! Since you cannot read audio. Like, at all.

In the interview, we discuss:

• The birth of the Victorian beard — and how its emergence can be traced precisely to 1848
• Both beards and clean-shavenness as signifiers going back to the Greeks
• The reasons for the decline of beardedness around 1900
• What the current Renaissance of beards could mean

“…I do think that we’re in an exploratory era. I don’t really know where that exploration is going to go, but I do think you’re right. There is more freedom, more interest in looking for a new style of facial hair than there has been in a long time.”

The full transcript is here! Enjoy!