6 Historical Figures Proving Nothing Exceeds Like Success
History|Oct 6, 2021

6 Historical Figures Proving Nothing Exceeds Like Success

Cows, Gold, Booze - Turns Out You Can Be Extravagant With Anything You Fancy.
Penthouse Staff

1. Founding Father's Bar Tab

The whopping bar tab of a 1787 farewell party for George Washington is still intact. Who needs to read books when you can read bar tabs, hey? According to the bill, what the Founding Fathers drank is enough to put anyone else’s binges in the shade. Between the 55 attendees they drank 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, eight bottles of whiskey, 12 of beer, and seven bowls of alcoholic punch. Impressive. 

2. Gordon Bennett's Cow Yacht

The son of the founder of the New York Herald was born to riches. While James Gordon Bennett snr was well respected for being a hardworking businessman, his son, Gordon was merely known for spending money. He once threw a roll of money into a fire because it was too large for him to fit it into the pocket of his pants. He bought a whole restaurant because he was annoyed someone was sitting in his seat. Plus, he had a yacht built with a room especially reserved for a cow so he could have fresh butter every morning. He installed a fan to blow a fresh breeze on the cow in the heat, and a stack of all-wool blankets to keep it warm in the cold. 

3. Chowing down with King Louis XIV

Imagine eating so much that your stomach isn’t just big, it ends up twice the size of the average human. When it came to eating, French King Louis XIV, who reigned for 72 years until his death in 1715, was renowned for running his daily routine around food. His evening meal took place at around 10pm and typically consisted of between 20-30 dishes. The first course was hors d’oeuvres, huge pyramids of fruit was served, as well as roasts, chicken pies, turkey, duck, boar, venison, oysters, salmon, sardines, even turtles served with rice and vegetables. His sister-in-law, Princess Palatine, is recorded as saying, “He could eat four plates of soup, a whole peasant, a partridge, a large plate of salad, two slices of ham, mutton au jus with garlic, a plate of pastry, all followed by fruit and hard-boiled eggs.” Some guests would join him but not eat, just sit and watch him chow down.  


4. E. Berry Wall's Bonkers Wardrobe 

You would have found Evander Berry Wall strolling the streets of New York towards the end of the 19th century. He became a millionaire by the time he hit 18 and a multi by the time he turned 22, when he inherited millions. He famously spent it all on clothes. There are reports he bought 5,000 neckties and 300 pairs of gloves, refused to drink anything except Champagne and once changed his outfit 40 times before lunch. He outdid even himself when he rocked up to a party wearing black patent leather boots up to his hips. 

5. Emperor Caligula's Gold Rush 

Yeah, yeah, we know that Emperor Caligula loved wild sex parties, but he also had a fetish for gold. The third Roman emperor forced his servants to pile up his gold reserves simply so he could roll around in the gold because he loved the feel of it on his skin. He also fed his favourite horse oats mixed with gold and, to show off how rich he was, he served guests loaves of bread made of solid gold. Sometimes, just for the hell of it, he threw it on the ground so he could walk across it. 

6. Marie Antoinette's Chocolatier

Think obscene luxury – then double it. This chick loved everything to excess and threw ridiculously lavish parties. The last Queen of France before the French Revolution would sit down for a big lunch each day, which in itself sounds pretty standard. But, her snacks were actually meals, like macaroni cheese or vegetables cooked in cream. She loved sweets and desserts; petit fours, crystallised fruits, whatever her staff could serve up would make her eyes dance. She loved chocolate so much she had her own chocolatier at Versailles. She especially liked liquid chocolate, which she drank with whipped cream.