Permanent Wave Machine
By HHM collections manager Heather Hoagland
Despite appearances, this is not some kind of torture device—although may have caused women to suffer for fashion. This is a permanent wave machine. With the combination of a reagent on the hair and the addition of heat through the top of the device (known as the “chandelier”), this machine would create a stylish wave.
Image: Wiki Commons
First, a proprietary alkaline reagent would be applied to the hair. Each beautician would create their own special blend, determined by their own experience, as well as the type of hair and style desired. Although I couldn’t confirm this myself, curator Jack Kabrud claims this reagent could include cow urine!
Sections of hair would then be wrapped around one of the metal coils and clamped into place and the electric machine would add heat to the hair, setting the wave in place.
This particular machine was produced by E. Frederics, Inc. of New York, circa 1928. The image below shows representatives of the company giving a demonstration in New York in 1928.
My nocturnal seekers of mystification — it is I, Miss Teria, your hostess of the Night of the Unknown.
Each third Friday of the month, an item too unusual to fit into an exhibit will be unveiled, along with a guest of my choosing.
I’ll test your mettle by giving you clues about the mystery object. Guess correctly and you will be welcomed into the Christian mansion for free. From the shadows, I will evaluate your guesswork, and I won’t be kind. Only the most resourceful and brightest will ever succeed in impressing me.
The first event took place on Friday, September 16th 2016. Party goers had access to these hints prior to the event.
The answers are: CLUE 1: Paul Bunyan; CLUE 2: foot; CLUE 3: doctors; CLUE 4: small vials, specimens; corn[s]
I can now reveal that our very first object was a podiatry collection that was donated in 1953. Intended to be donated to the National Chiropodist museum, it fell into our hands instead.
The collection includes a lovely selection of ingrown toenails, bunions, planter warts, and calluses. The formaldehyde in the small vials has evaporated over time but the beauty of the specimens is undiminished.
Until next time,