Curling Iron – The History Behind The Invention

e.l.f. cosmetics

Curling Iron – The True History

The Curling Iron

The history of the curling iron. Is there a thing? or is the curling iron just a modern invention? Each generation is identical. We think we’ve invented something new when perhaps all we’ve done is to modify”old creations” by applying modern technology. Let us begin to investigate the history of the curling iron or, as it is also known, the curling tong.

Let us begin with the definition of a curling iron. It is a tool used to change the structure of the hair by applying heat to a lock of hair that’s been curled around it. It’s natural to think with a modern mind and assume that the heat is generated by electricity. However, the curling iron goes way back before the introduction of electrical power.

History Pages

We have to look at carvings from the ancient world to find a popular style involved creating curls and that people really cared about the style of their hair. Babylonian and Assyrian guys used curling irons and crimped and dyed their hair and beards black that was square. Persian nobles also curled their hair and beards.

Men Egyptian nobles and women, cropped their hair close but afterward, for coolness and cleanliness in their climate, shaved their heads. On ceremonial occasions, for protection from the sun, they wore wigs. The wigs are full of braids or curls and long or wavy and short. The Science Museum has an illustration of curling tongs used by Egyptians that are wealthy to prepare their wigs.

In ancient Greece, it is known that the upper classes used curling irons.

Curling Iron Methods

There have been many methods devised to keep the curl in place and to curl hair. By way of instance, in 1906 Charles L. Nessler, a German hairdresser working in London applied a borax paste and curled hair with an iron to make the first permanent waves. This process took twelve hours. Eight decades later, the procedure was adopted by Eugene Sutter by creating a drier containing twenty heaters to perform the job of waving more efficiently.

Sutter was followed by Gaston Boudou, who modified Sutter’s dryer and invented an automatic roller. By 1920, a Paris beautician, Rambaud, had perfected a system of curling and drying permed hair. He said by using an electric hot-air drier, an innovation of this period for softer curls.

The Breakthrough

A significant breakthrough came in 1945 when French chemist Eugene Schueller of L’Oralal laboratories and hydrogen peroxide combined the action of thioglycolic acid to create the first permanent wave, which was quicker and cheaper than the hot procedures. The varying diameter of rods was used for rolling to control the amount of curl. When L’Oréal laboratories introduced a polymer hair spray to serve as an invisible net, technology to hold hair was advanced in 1960.
The curling iron has remained a favorite tool regardless of the chemical inventions. We’ve moved on from the metal rods heated by insertion into hot coals or heating on electric or gas stoves. With no control of the iron’s heat there must have been several cases of burnt fingers, and of course singed hair and scalps! Modern-day designs demand more control and flexibility of hairstyle with hair appearing loose rather than”glued into place”. Heated and electronically controlled irons and tongs are available.

The Sizes

The barrels come in varying sizes loose falling finish or enabling a curl that is tight. Some have a sleek easy-glide ceramic barrel. This creates a finish that is smooth. Buy drop curl hair tongs with a cone-shaped tong to make tumbling tousled curls and waves. The fluctuation in hair fashions from curly to straight and back again means manufacturers will continue to dream up new innovations to attract the customer and both professional hairstylists.

So Who Invented It?

So who “invented” the curling iron? Inevitably you find many references to “invented” and “patented by” or “introduced by”. The inventor is lost in the mists of time but illustrations of the previous sentence are:

In1866, Hiram Maxim, who designed the machine gun bearing his name, applied for and obtained the first of many patents at age 26 for a hair-curling iron.

Four years later in 1890 two Frenchmen, Maurice Lentheric and Marcel Grateau, used curling tongs that were heated and drying to make deep, long-lasting Marcel waves.

The Straightening is credited as being invented by the late 19th-century French hairdresser, Marcel Grateau, who invented the wave, the iron and afterward.

In 1959, Roger Lemoine and Rene Lelievre devised an electric curling iron in related developments.

The pressing/curling iron

In August 1987 the Wahl Clipper Corporation introduced to the professional market the ZeeCurl. Stylists were given a tool to create hairstyles using Z-shaped curls, adding body and texture to all types of hair by this flat-barrel curling iron. In 1988, FrenZee, the consumer version, was included.

There is little doubt that fashion will require and dictate new innovations to ensure the continuation of the curling iron’s history.


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