Langseth began growing his prodigious bristles when he was just 19 years old to compete in a local beard-growing competition. After the competition ended, Langseth simply continued the effort. Though beard hair can only grow about four or five feet before dying off, Langseth matted the dead hair together in a coil, like that of today's dreadlocks, to further lengthen and strengthen his beard.
That is beard dedication. In fact, Langseth loved his beard so much that, upon his death, he made his children promise to cut the beard off and saved as a testament to his hairy greatness. Eventually, they donated it to the Smithsonian, where it resides today.
There is some dispute about exactly how long the beard was. The sleuths at the Smithsonian say Langseth's whiskers reached 17.5 feet in length, but a family website devoted to him says they were more like 18 feet, 6 inches. (That website, incidentally, contains many pictures of Langseth and his truly extraordinary beard
Whatever the statistics, Hans Langseth grew his furry way into history. He's more than earned our World Beard Day thanks.
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