Categories: Bizzare & Odd

Russian giant – the tallest man ever lived on earth after biblical Goliath

Fyodor Andreevich Makhnov at one time knew almost the whole world. The fact is that he was the tallest man. Weighing 182 kilograms, his height was 285 centimeters, and a 12-year-old child could easily fit in his boot.

Fedor Makhnov was born on June 6, 1878 in the village of Kostyuki, Vitebsk district (now Belarus) into a poor family.

The Makhnov family was taller than average, but not giants.

Fedor’s mother died during childbirth, the child turned out to be very large. The grandfather took up the upbringing of the boy.

At first, Fyodor Makhnov developed as befits an ordinary child, but by the age of eight he began to grow vigorously. At the age of 12, his growth has already reached two meters. His foot was 51 centimeters, and his palm was 32 centimeters.

Corresponding to the growth was his strength – he could easily lift an adult or drag a cart with hay up the hill. The landowner Korzhenevsky, hired the young hero to clear the river from boulders that interfered with the work of the water mill.

When Fedor turned 14, due to his abnormal growth, he even had to rebuild the hut. Children laughed at him because of his height, in response the giant hung their hats on the ridge of the roof or shed.

Once the owner of a nomadic circus, Otto Bidinder, noticed the young giant at a market in Vitebsk, where Fyodor worked part-time to earn money for clothes and shoes that were made to order for him.

At that time, unusual people were very popular, because Otto persuaded Fyodor’s relatives to let the young man go to Germany.

First, Fyodor Makhnov studied German and circus arts. At the age of 16, the young man signed a contract to work in a circus. Fyodor broke bricks with the edge of his palm, unbend horseshoes, and while lying down he could lift a platform with a small orchestra. But the majority of people came to the performances to see the real giant with their own eyes – by the age of 25 Makhnov had grown to 2 meters and 85 centimeters.

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The food of the giant corresponded to such dimensions. For breakfast, he ate an omelet of 20 eggs, 8 loaves of bread and two liters of tea, for lunch – two and a half kilograms of meat and the same amount of potatoes. 

Also, Makhnov could sleep for more than 24 hours and overall, spent nine years working in the circus where he became a wealthy person.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, he moved to his native land, where he bought the land of the landowner Korzhenevsky, and remade the estate to fit his height and named it Velikanovo. Bidinder sent materials for construction from Germany. Makhnov maintained friendly relations with Otto Bidinder until the end of his life.

Despite his considerable fortune and good disposition, the giant could not find a mate for a long time. As a result, he married a rural teacher, Efrosinya Lebedeva. The girl was taller than average, but still a meter shorter than her husband. The wife gave birth to Fyodor five children. Sometimes Fyodor Makhnov went to work in Europe – he performed in circuses and his popularity did not fall. 

Often he was invited to social events, where he managed to amuse the guests by lighting cigarettes from the chandelier. Traveling was difficult for Makhnov: transport, hotels and restaurants did not match the giant’s growth.

Fyodor Makhnov died in 1912 at the age of 34. The cause of death is not exactly known. Fyodor was buried at the cemetery in the village of Kostyuki. The stone gravestone reads:

“Fedor Andreevich Makhnov. Born June 6, 1878. He died on August 28, 1912. The tallest man in the world. The height was 3 yards 9 vershoks.” 

In fact, the height is indicated incorrectly: the value of 3 arshins 9 vershoks (254 centimeters), which is 30 centimeters less than the actual one, was taken from the contract that Fedor Makhnov concluded at the age of 16.


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