The interesting history of hair combs
Anthropologists dated the earliest hair-care accessories back to the Stone Age (10 to 15.000 B.C.)
According to researchers, the very first combs were made of wood, ivory and fish bones. These primitive items were initially used to remove insects, lice and dirt away from the head. With the advent of metal tools, harder materials such as horn, walrus, alabaster, onyx and ebony were used to manufacture hair accessories.
From culture to culture, it is believed that almost all early people independently invented combs. Early combs looked strikingly similar: built with five or ten teeth, anthropologists suggest that they were designed to resemble the human hand.
The ancient Egyptians were the first to produce double-sided combs, with both thick and fine teeth lines, used for styling and cleaning respectively. Their design subsequently became a standard model in both European and Asian cultures for centuries.
Combs were first made in the United States in the late 1700s by New England farmers. Tortoise shell combs were very popular in China during the 1800s. Celluloid combs were also used in the late 1800s, but were soon banned from the market since they were highly flammable objects.
The invention of plastic in the 1930s finally spelled the use of natural materials. The tendency was kept until modern days.
Did you know that..
- The world’s most celebrated comb was carved in eastern Siberia during the eighteenth century out of ivory from an extinct mammoth species?
- Before the nineteenth century decorative combs were the most valuable jewels in China and Japan?
- The most valuable comb in the world was found in the tomb of a Scythian leader near the Black Sea? Dating from the fifth century B.C., the comb is made of ten ounces of pure gold.