Hair combs have been around for centuries and have been used in all parts of the world. The earliest hair combs were made of bone, ivory and wood. Eventually materials such as silver, tin and brass were also used.
Later in time, during the 19th century, tortoise shell and bone hair combs came into favor. Besides their inherent beauty, they were also easy materials to heat and could be bent into any desired shape.
Then, in the late 1860’s, a new material was discovered. The material was called Celluloid and was essentially one of the first man made plastics. This discovery changed the whole dynamic of the hair comb industry. Celluloid was cheaper and easier to use then horn, ivory or tortoise shell. It could also be made to look like any of the fore mentioned natural materials. A happy day indeed for the beleaguered turtle and elephant populations.
During the 1920’s and 30’s the celluloid hair comb experienced its golden age. Fanciful designs in faux ivory or tortoise were adorned with all manner of gem stones and rhinestones. These beautiful objects were the height of fashion and a few survive to this day thanks to the efforts of diligent collectors who have taken it upon themselves to care for these delicate objects.
Recently, I was lucky enough to purchase a partial collection of vintage hair combs. They date from the 1920’s and 30’s and are wonderful examples of the style and design of that period.
Here are some images…………..please enjoy viewing them and let me know what you think.
Make sure to click on the picture to view the enlargement.