We’ve seen a sharp rise in the semiserious celebration of the mustache—from finger tattoos, to the charitable monthlong growing contest known as Movember—and all this time we thought it was a relatively new phenomenon…

Until we stumbled upon this cache of photos from the inaugural meeting of the “Handlebar Club” at London’s Windmill Theatre. In 1947. That’s right, a slapstick crew of mustachioed men began a club dedicated to mustaches (beards strictly disallowed) nearly 70 years ago. They even went so far as to print mustaches on their silk ties (somebody write that idea down). Not to mention, it’s a surprisingly handsome lot of hirsute upper lips—which we’ll assume took longer than a month to grow.

And now, seven more photos of the pioneering men who dedicated themselves to the art of mustache celebration well before any of us thought of it…

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar