Feodor Machnow

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Feodor Machnow
Feodor Andreevich Machnow
Born(1878-06-06)6 June 1878
Died28 August 1912(1912-08-28) (aged 34)
Cause of deathPneumonia, and complications of Acromegaly
Other namesFyodor Makhnov, Федор Махнов (Russian)
Known forTall man/person "The Russian Giant"

Feodor Machnow (Russian: Фёдор Андреевич Махнов) or Fiodar Machnoŭ (Belarusian: Фёдар Андрэевіч Махноў) was born in 1878 at the village of Kasciuki near Viciebsk, then part of the Russian Empire (now in Belarus). Though exact details concerning his birth and real height are uncertain, Machnow eventually grew to a stature of 285 Centimetres and a weight of 365 pounds.

As a young man in his twenties he toured Europe to exhibit his great height. After having spent time in Berlin he visited London in 1905 where he joined the Hippodrome accompanied by his wife and young child. He then toured the United States in 1906 where he met President Roosevelt as well as actor and fellow giant George Auger.(auger's height is also disputed with claims ranging anywhere from 7'5 to 8'5) Throughout his tour his promoters exaggerated his height, and he is usually accredited with a stature of 9 feet 3 inches (2.82m) and billed as "The Russian Giant." On the obelisk it is still possible to read: «Фёдор Андреевич Махнов. Родился 6 июня 1878 года. Умер 28 августа 1912 года. Самый высокий человек в мире. Ростом был 3 аршина 9 вершков» ("Feodor Machnow. Born 6 June 1878. Died 28 August 1912. Tallest man in the world. His height was 3 arshins 9 vershoks [254 centimetres] tall"). This index was taken from a 16-year-old Feodor contract. But after 16 years of age, Feodor Machnow continued to grow, and added 31 cm, reaching 282 cm. Machnow's wife, Efrosinja wanted to correct the incorrect figure on the monument, but was prevented from doing so because of the beginning of the First World War and then the Revolution. Unfortunately Machnow's wife could not verify this version. This exaggeration may have been because he wore a huge Cossack fur hat, and tall boots which added a foot to his height. Although, if this was accurate, he would have been taller than Robert Wadlow, now cited as the world's tallest man.

Machnow died in 1912 due to pneumonia and likely complications of Acromegaly although there are other versions of the story. Some believed he had been poisoned by rivals or envious competitors (Machnow was a rather well known wrestler), but no evidence for this is available. He was the father of four children none of whom reached a height greater than two meters.

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