History of Hair Styling

Combs, Brushes, Hair Dye, Bobby Pins, and Other Hair Styling Tools.

Person styling hair
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Brushes were used as early as 2,500,000 years ago in the cave paintings of Altamira in Spain and Périgord in France. These brushes were used to apply pigment to the cave walls. Similar brushes were later adapted and used for hair grooming.

Brush & Comb Trivia

  • On New Year's Day in 1906, Alfred C. Fuller, a 21-year-old entrepreneur from Nova Scotia, started the Fuller Brush Company from a bench located between the furnace and the coal bin in the basement of his sister's New England home.
  • Camel hair brushes are not made of camel's hair. They are named after the inventor, Mr. Camel.
  • African American, Lyda D Newman patented a new and improved brush on November 15, 1898. Walter Sammons received a patent (US patent #1,362,823) for a comb.

Hair Spray

The concept of an aerosol spray originated as early as 1790 when self-pressurized carbonated beverages were introduced in France.

However, it was not until World War II, when the US government funded research into a portable way for servicemen to spray malaria-carrying that the modern aerosol can was created. Two Department of Agriculture researchers, Lyle David Goodhue and W. N. Sullivan, developed a small aerosol can that was pressurized by a liquefied gas (a fluorocarbon) in 1943. It was their design that made products like hair spray possible, along with the work of one other inventor named Robert Abplanal.

In 1953, Robert Abplanal invented a crimp-on valve "for dispensing gases under pressure." This put the manufacture of aerosol spray can products into high gear as Abplanal had created the first clog-free valve for spray cans.

Hair Styling Tools

Bobby pins were first introduced to America in 1916. The very first hair dryers were vacuum cleaners adapted for drying hair. Alexandre Godefoy invented the first electric hair dryer in 1890. Thermo hair curlers were invented by African American inventor Solomon Harper in 1930. The pressing/curling iron was patented by Theora Stephens on October 21, 1980. Charles Nestle invented the first perm machine in the early 1900s. Early permanent wave machines used electricity and various liquids to perm hair and were difficult to use.

According to Salon.com Technology columnist Damien Cave, "Rick Hunt, a San Diego carpenter, invented the Flowbee in the late 1980s after marveling at an industrial vacuum's ability to suck sawdust from his hair." The Flowbee is a do-it-yourself home haircutting invention.

History of Hair Dressing & Styling

Hairdressing is the art of arranging the hair or otherwise modifying its natural state. Closely related to headgear, hairdressing has been an important part of the dress of both men and women since antiquity and, like the dress, serves a number of functions.

Hair Dye

The founder of L'Oreal, French chemist Eugene Schueller, invented the first synthetic hair dye in 1907. He named his new hair dye product "Aureole".

Baldness Treatment

On February 13, 1979, Charles Chidsey received a patent for a treatment for male baldness. U.S. Patent 4,139,619 was issued on February 13, 1979. Chidsey was working for the Upjohn Company.

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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "History of Hair Styling." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/history-of-hair-styling-1991891. Bellis, Mary. (2021, February 16). History of Hair Styling. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-hair-styling-1991891 Bellis, Mary. "History of Hair Styling." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-hair-styling-1991891 (accessed June 7, 2023).