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Wigmakers Petitioned King "to Make Wig-Wearing by Males Compulsory"

(p. 384) . . . , pretty abruptly, wigs went out of fashion. Wigmakers, in desperation, petitioned George III to make wig-wearing by males compulsory, but the king declined. By the early 1800s nobody wanted them and old wigs were commonly used as dust mops. Today they survive only in certain courtrooms in Britain and the Commonwealth. Judicial wigs these days are made of horsehair and cost about £600,

I'm told. To avoid a look of newness - which many lawyers fear might suggest inexperience - new wigs are customarily soaked in tea to give them a suitable air of age.


Bryson, Bill. At Home: A Short History of Private Life. New York: Doubleday, 2010.

(Note: ellipsis added.)


It's interesting how we can look back at something like wigmakers petitioning the government to make men wearing wigs compulsory as silly and yet not bat an eye today when a company like General Electric lobbies the government to make CFL lightbulb use compulsory. Society essentially just plays out the Candlemaker's Petition over and over again in various forms and we keep falling for it.

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