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The 7 Wonders of the World You Have NEVER Heard Of? Bet Ya!!!!!

Carol Tenwalde

Alright I admit I am a sucker for the get rich quick schemes. I just love reading about how people take ordinary things and turn then into fortunes. But this one really peaked my curiosity it was called How to "Make a Hairy Fortune!"

In the late 1800s, the Seven Sutherland Sisters earned millions by marketing a hair-growth tonic that was made from Turkey dung. As turkey farmers I guess the family didn't mind the smell but the girls albeit beautiful weren't very popular in school.

Here is the story. Long, flowing hair on women was considered an important marker of femininity in England and the United States during the Victorian era. Billowing manes figured prominently in the art  and culture of the era. But long, untrammeled hair could also carry a whiff of the disreputable. When Victorian girls reached a certain age (usually 18), they were expected to put their hair up and let down their hems, signifying that they were now of marriageable age. A respectable woman would only let her hair down, as it were, in private. This sex appeal may have accounted for the Sutherlands’ popularity in sideshows and dime museums, such as P.T. Barnum’s American Museum. The notorious impresario billed them as “the seven most pleasing wonders of the world.”

Soon the Sutherland's stage manager realized there was a lot more money to be made touting a hair tonic than parading the girls around the country as freaks. Unfortunately, Mary, the girls mother had died and she was the keeper of the Turkey Dung Hair Suave Recipe.

Not to be undone the manager came up with a tonic and had it patented. The company got its first trademark in 1883. “The Lucky Number 7 Seven Sutherland Sisters Hair Grower” cost 60 cents for four ounces, or the equivalent to about $15 nowadays. (The average weekly wage for a railroad engineer that year [1881] was just under $4). It was also sometimes known as “Hair Fertilizer.” The Turkey Dung was replaced by a new secret ingredient called cantharides, an irritating powder made from an aphrodisiac beetle known as a Spanish Fly. At least it didn't stink!

In its first year, the Seven Sutherland Sisters Corporation made $90,000 in sales (about $2.25 million today). Not bad????

Sadly all good fads come to and end. In the 1920s, modern young women, aka flappers, shed their corsets and long skirts to symbolize freedom from stodgy respectability. They also began chopping off their long hair—the era of the bob began.

From Bobs to Tresses I hope you enjoyed this ditty!

Let's chat again soon,

Carol



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