Robert Pershing Wadlow: World’s Tallest Man Ever

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It feels good when we get compliments for any of our habits, characteristics or features. But what if you get extremely famous throughout the world and your name would be recorded in the history of mankind just because of an extraordinary feature you posses ,or I should say a nature’s miracle which can either prove to be a boon or a bane ?

Robert Pershing Wadlow

Read on to discover a brief history of the world’s tallest man Robert Pershing Wadlow who possessed an extraordinary height as a result of one of the miracles of the nature. On February 22 1918 Harold F. and Addie Wadlow in Alton, Illinois were blessed with their first baby whom they named Robert Pershing Wadlow. Since birth Robert was a normal sized baby weighing 3.8 kgs, but slowly his growth started taking an extraordinary pace.

A pituary gland is a gland located at the center of the brain and is responsible for our growth. Robert’s extraordinary growth was due to the Hyperplasia or an overactive pituary gland. Later he was blessed with four siblings who fortunately didn’t suffer from any dangerous disease like Robert did. At a tender age of 13 he became the world’s tallest Boy Scout with his height ranging to an incredible 7’4 (224 cm).

Robert Pershing Wadlow -  World’s Tallest Man Ever
Robert Pershing Wadlow – World’s Tallest Man Ever

At the age of 11 years he was examined at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis for the first time by a couple of Washington University specialists, where the family first discovered the reason that caused his fast growth.

Robert’s Life changed when he was nine. Due to Robert’s unwieldy and rare stature, Robert Wadlow became very famous during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Newspaper reporters and Newsreel photographers came and documented him for the people who were curious about him; eventually he came to be recognized round the globe. People rushed in groups to Alton to see the giant boy themselves. Some behaved respectfully, some misbehaved. Those times Circuses still recruited people with such deformities to be in freak shows. Loads of offers came in for him to go on display because of Robert Pershing Wadlow’s height.

As a youth Robert’s interests were typical of most boys of his age. He enjoyed photography, reading, collecting stamps, and listening to the radio. In school he used to score good grades, got along with others, and played with other children. Robert Wadlow later joined the Freemason youth club and became a member of Alton Chapter, Order of DeMolay at fifteen, the minimum age one could join.

As a youngster Robert’s interests were similar to most boys of his age. He loved listening to the radio, reading, photography and collecting stamps. In school he scored good grades, made good relations with others and played various games with other children. Later he joined the Freemason youth club and eventually became the youngest member of Alton Chapter the Order of DeMolay at a tender age of fifteen which was assigned as the minimum age one could join.

Robert Pershing Wadlow 1

Robert enrolled in Shurleff College After graduating high school from where he intended to get a law degree. Even after being granted a scholarship to Alton’s Shurtleff College, he faced difficulty in getting from one building to another so he had to quit after one year.

Another one of interesting Robert Pershing Wadlow facts is that at the age of 18, Robert used to wear shoes of size 37, which cost him $100 a pair, which was valued to about $1,500 today. Two years later he was provided by free shoes by the International Shoe Company. In 1938, Robert became the goodwill ambassador for the International Shoe Company and undertook a promotional tour in which he promoted Peters Shoes. Harold devoted himself to Robert by being his traveling companion and driver. But for that he had to quit his job as worker at an oil company. Robert and his father used to visit various places which totaled to 800 towns and 41 states. Robert used to travel in a car that was exclusively modified by his father to accommodate him well so that he could travel in relative comfort. Modifications were made by removing the front passenger seat so that Robert could easily sit at the back by extending his long legs towards the front side.

Robert Pershing Wadlow - Shoes

Things kept on changing and Robert’s height began to take a toll. His enormous size started to put undue strain on him physically. Later he was provided with leg braces to walk and experienced tingling sensations in his lower extremities. One day Robert told his father that he wasn’t feeling well. They left the parade and immediately consulted a doctor when he was analyzed it was found out that one of his brace had malfunctioned and caused severe infections deep in his leg. Because hospital accommodations were not available Robert was taken to his hotel room. Blood transfusion was done, which was followed by a minor operation.

His temperature was elevating which reached up to 106 degrees. Robert’s feet always gave him trouble. Since 1930 times he had received treatment at Barnes hospital for broken bones and infections because of the sensations in his feet some blisters were formed. All doctors came together to treat Robert who previously treated him and were very well aware of his medical history, equipments, ability and accommodations were inadequate. Robert died in his sleep on July 15, 1940.

Robert Pershing Wadlow - Body Coffin

Robert’s body was taken back to his hometown of Alton, people still go to visit Robert Pershing Wadlow grave over there. For burial a special coffin was made for him. It was made by the Grand Traverse Casket Company. The coffin was made of steel and measured 10 feet six inches in length and three feet two inches in breadth.

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