Tuesday, 28 February 2012

New Mystery Item and Museum Updates

So the new mystery object is up on our Twitter page waiting for your guesses!!

At the moment the Museum is closed for the winter but the work still continues. As always the documentation work continues, as does the advertising for new volunteers. Recently a meeting has taken place to work out some of the details for our Olympic Exhibition this summer, as well as for other educational activities. The Olympic Exhibition is shaping up to be quite good. Look out for our version of Tom Daley on your way into the museum.

It would be great to see you all this summer at our exhibition, hopefully we can celebrate some British wins this year!!!!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Mystery Item No 1

So for the past month people have been guessing the museum's mystery object via Twitter. Thanks for all your guesses. I can now reveal that the item was in fact a pair of hair curling tongs. Congratulations to all those who got it right and thanks for guessing.
I thought I would provide a brief history of each of our mystery items. 
The history of hair curling is a long one. There is evidence to suggest that curlers were used on wigs in the items of Ancient Egypt. Two bronze examples can be seen on the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago’s website (http://oi.uchicago.edu/museum/virtual/eg/e_objects.html). Item number 18176 is a 72mml curling iron with the handle in the shape of an outstretched horse. The second item, number 9912, dates from the New Kingdom and is a curling iron and knife.

So who invented the modern hair curling iron?! Well there is much discussion over this In 1866 Hiram Maxim applied for and obtained the patents for a hair curling iron.[1] Four years after this Maurice Lentheric and Marcel Grateau used hot air drying and heated curling tongs to create the Marcel Wave.[2]  The Marcel Wave was a popular hair style, changing women’s hairstyles for years to come.
Tongs were heated over a fire, however if the tongs were too cold the hair wouldn’t set, but if they were too hot the hair would burn. The Marcel irons came in various sizes A, B, C and D, however it was not until 1933 that an adjustable iron was invented, similar to those used today.[3] The various sized tongs created different sized waves.
The first electric hairdryer was invented in 1890 by Alexandre Godefoy  and the first hair straightner was invented in 1906 by Simon Monroe.[4] This straightner was more of a comb in design and can be seen here www.google.com/patents?id=T89RAAAAEBAJ&pg=PA1&dq=hair+straightener&source=gbs_selected_pages&cad=2#v=onepage&q=hair%20straightener&f=false.
There are many other great websites and blogs about hair curlers and hair, so be sure to check them out for more detail. This is only a very brief overview of the hair curler.

[1] ‘My Hair Styling Tools’, 2012. [Online] Available from: www.blog.myhairstylingtools.com/blog/who-invented-the-curling-iron. (Accessed 12/02/2012).
[2] ‘My Hair Styling Tools’, 2012. [Online] Available from: www.blog.myhairstylingtools.com/blog/who-invented-the-curling-iron. (Accessed 12/02/2012).
[3] 1920-1930, ‘Marcel Wave’, 2007. [Online] Available from: www.1920-30.com/fashion/hairstyles/marcel-wave.html. (Accessed 12/02/2012).

[4] Google Patents, 'No US819444', 2011. [Online] Available from: www.google.com/patents?hl=en&lr=&vid=USPAT819444&id=T89RAAAAEBAJ&oi=fnd&dq=hair+straightener. (Accessed 12/02/2012).