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Sandford Fleming

In 1845, an 18 year old apprentice surveyor named Sandford Fleming emigrated from Scotland to Canada. Endowed with great intelligence and ambition, Fleming soon became prominent in his field, and in 1849 he co-founded the Royal Canadian Institute for scientists and engineers. Fleming’s primary career was as a railway engineer, surveying for the Grand Trunk Railway, which ran from Quebec to Vermont, and in 1855 he became the chief engineer for the Northern Railway of Canada.

But Fleming’s interests were much wider than railways. He created Canada’s first postage stamp, known as the Threepenny Beaver, and in 1876 he invented international standard time zones to solve the problem of co-ordinating railway timetables across continents, after he had missed a train while traveling in Ireland.

In 1897, 18 years before his death, Sir Sanford Fleming was knighted by Queen Victoria.

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Bearding Beyond Assumptions

by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate

Growing facial hair, especially for first timers, is endless curiosity. For guys who never made the decision to see what their face looks like in full whiskered splendor and are looking for an adventure that will be a sensory marvel, take the time whenever they ask about how you mastered the whisker.

We know each guy’s growth journey is unique, as are the results they get in a few months of steering clear of shaving. Part of the problem most men have when they want to grow is a hidden ‘fear’—that the time put in will not yield a good result. I had that stigma for 14 years.

A moustache was becoming prominent at around age 14, and back as early as 12 stout whiskers were appearing among the peach fuzz. Those I foolishly plucked. By age 14 there was evidence of more stout hairs, and as I had no intention of shaving the upper lip by that time, the growing journey was partially underway.

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Podcast: Growing a Beard—The starter Phase
Chris Staples
takes on the beard challenges and joins the ranks of Beardsley contributors from his newly whiskered perspective


Whiskered Titans Of The 19th Century:
A ‘Top 5’ Short List Of Creators And Innovators

by Bill Alley, Broadcast Host, Wordsmith and Beard Advocate

History for me is an endless fascination. One of the hardest decisions made on whether or not a degree in some form of History as the ‘major’ major (I double majored) came down to simple math: how many historians get employed and enjoy a lifetime of their passion compared to Broadcasters? In the 1970s that decision tilted easily in the media’s favor. Looking back so much has changed: some wish to re-write, even eliminate, the past, and if they succeed, history’s importance would eventually fade. Big mistake; we learn from the past—even with beards. That’s the reason why we’re virtually dusting off some notable titans of the 19th century which shaped fame and fortune as well as facial hair.

Elisha Graves Otis, founder of Otis Elevator Company, is often mistaken for being the inventor of the elevator. In fact, he was an inventor of a component much more important for elevators—a braking system that would prevent a detached hoist from causing the elevator compartment to sending the contents of said elevator to certain doom. The portrait most seen of Otis is linked to the late 1840s when he would have been in his mid-to late-30s. His whiskers when captured on a picture medium (rendered, typically) always appear full and proportional, a classic full beard that allows for a sweeping, broad moustache and compliments Elisha’s facial features.

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