Marvellous moustaches

It’s November, which means that some of your friends may sprout some dubious facial hair over the next few weeks.

Yes, it’s that time of year again when thousands of blokes bid goodbye to their razors and grow a moustache to raise awareness for men’s health issues. For anyone unsure which style to adopt, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found in the Science Museum.

The most famous scientific moustache is of course Albert Einstein’s, which has spawned some truly terrifying memorabilia (none of which, I hasten to add, carry a Science Museum endorsement).

Einstein tries to work out the equation for the perfect moustache curvature (AP / Science & Society).

However, Einstein’s bristles are roundly trumped by Henry Wellcome, whose extraordinary collections are housed by the Museum. Follow the growth and decline of his moustache in this online exhibit from our friends at the Wellcome Library.

Henry Wellcome's hirsute splendour (Wellcome Library, London)

Even these marvels pale into insignificance beside 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe, although only the very ambitious would attempt to emulate his legendary silver nose.

Tycho Brahe's facial hair features prominently in this engraving of 1586 (Science Museum).

Such hirsute frivolity won’t be to everyone’s taste. But the clean-shaven should spare a thought for the 634 men of the South Eastern Railway Company who in November 1877 signed this petition asking for a ban on ‘taches to be lifted ‘believing and being advised that the wearing of Moustaches is a protection against the inclemency of the weather’.

More moustaches, please - an 1877 petition (National Railway Museum).

Some of the Science Museum team will be growing moustaches for the month, so watch out for hairy guys when you visit the galleries!

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