Fat Men’s Clubs existed all over the US in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Members usually had to be at least 200lb (14st 4lbs) to enter and were required to weigh in before meetings to make sure they were heavy enough to attend. Corpulence was celebrated as a sign of wealth (in an inversion of the modern value system), and these clubs were considered a useful place to network with rich, chubby members of society.
New England’s Fat Men’s club had 10,000 members at its peak. Meetings involved eating huge meals then engaging in physical contests like leapfrog.
Similar clubs existed in other countries: in Britain, if members didn’t meet the minimum weight requirement they had to pay a fine to charity.
A French equivalent Les Cent Kilos, appeared in 1897, though it wasn’t very popular. (100kgs is 220lbs, so a slightly more demanding entry requirement).
In 1908 a Chicago Senator campaigning for a fat men’s political club, said he favoured a law that prevented anyone lighter than 200lb from holding public office.
The same year the presidential race was between two obese men, William Taft and William Bryan. The Baltimore Sun wrote: ‘This is a great year for fat men. Good nature increases in men generally in proportion to their avoirdupois... he looks upon the world with kindly eyes... this is a big country and it seems to call for a big President’.
In 1884, spring-loaded roller skates were designed exclusively for obese people. They comprised a set of wheels attached to each foot, and driven by a spring. The boost provided by the spring depended on the weight placed on it. A 150lb person would get it moving at 6mph, while a 200lb person would reach 10mph.
For anyone under 100lb, the skates would be of little use.
A narrow mind and a fat head invariably come on the same person.
A 2015 study found that men eat twice as much in the company of women. Cornell University researchers watched people at an all-you-can-eat Italian buffet. Men who dined with women ate nearly twice as much pizza as men who ate with other men.
Women’s eating habits did not change based on their companion’s gender, but when interviewed afterwards, women who’d eaten with men were more likely to think that they themselves had overeaten.
Outside every thin woman is a fat man trying to get in.
In 1903, US President William Howard Taft went on a diet after getting stuck in the White House bathtub.
The average dead American is so fat that US coroners are having to install hydraulic lifting gear in their offices.
Children wishing to ride on a donkey at Great Yarmouth sea front have to weigh under 8 stones.
'Gaucie' is an archaic word meaning portly or jolly.
Shropshire born William 'Fatty' Foulke (1874-1916) is the greatest fat sporting all-rounder Britain has ever seen. Not only was he a goalie for England, Sheffield United, Bradford City and Chelsea, but he also played cricket for Derbyshire.
Not bad considering that Foulke weighed 25 stone and required six men to carry him off the field when he was injured.
The football chant ‘Who ate all the pies’ was first sung in 1894 by Sheffiled United supporters and aimed at Foulke.
Airlines are designing aircraft to carry heavier loads because passengers are becoming plumper.
Amphetemines were touted as a cure for obesity in the 1960s.
During the middle ages and the renaissance obesity was seen as a sign of wealth and was fairly common among the elite.
Franz Schubert was short and fat. His friends called him ‘Schwammerl’ or ‘the mushroom’.
Tolstoy is Russian for ‘fat’.
Girls from the Okoyong tribe in Congo were sent to fattening houses before marriage.
If a termite nest is attacked, the workers have to drag the queen to safety, as she is too fat to move of her own accord.
UK hospitals have had to make their beds stronger for obese patients.