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Flapper Shingle Comb

Ref: DE-0208-001

This unusual hair accessory is not really an ornament at all but an article used for cutting the hair at home in the early 20th century! At this time many young women began to cut their long hair very short in the boyish looking bob, and later the even more brief shingle.

Pictures 5 and 6 show examples of this extremely short boyish hair style.

Beauty salons were not very widespread at this time and confined to large cities. So many people had to cut their hair at home using aids like this which were available through catalogues.

The comb was placed on top of the hair with the teeth pointing downward. The lower edge formed a guide for cutting a straight edge on the hair. It is made from dark brown celluloid and is marked to show that is was patented on August 20th 1914. An interesting piece of costume and hairdressing history!

Size: 3 x 5¼ ins (approx 8 x 13 cms)


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Deep Amber Celluloid Overlay Fan Shaped Hair Comb

Ref: DE-0911-001

This large sized hair comb is made by an interesting manufactured technique called celluloid overlay. This is where the item is made in two separate castings of contrasting colours. Here for example a transparent base coat has been cast with a shiny upper shell in a mottled faux tortoise effect which shows along the edges of the swirled design and the tips of the tines.

The comb has a classic motif of radiating lines and terminating in a scalloped profile. This is yet another version of the iconic sunray motif which is found on many combs of the period and may refer to the popular craze for sun bathing.

The final illustration is taken from a fashion engraving in a popular magazine of  1923 century. It shows the sitter wearing an oversized comb of a similar type.

Size: 6½  x 6½  ins; (approx 16.5 x 16.5 cms)


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Oversized “Confetti Lucite” Gold Glitter Comb

Ref: AD-1201-002

This very beautiful and unusually large comb is probably made from one of the newer synthetics, either Catalin or Lucite, which allowed a number of exotic decorative effects. Lucite is the queen of diversity, appearing in many forms, colours and styles in jewelry. The variety called confetti Lucite encompasses a wide range of variations, all basically a transparent form of Lucite with chips or glitter resembling metallics or mother of pearl or even rhinestones encased so that they appear to float in the material.

In this case the openwork design on the heading has been made with tiny gold metallic fragments which are suspended in the plastic. Combs like this seem to have originated in the USA and are generally known as “glitter” or sometimes “goldstone” effect combs, in imitation of the mineral known as goldstone which has glittering iron pyrites in it. Trade names for such effects were Tinseloid, Goldstone or Goldaleur.

The final picture is taken from a French magazine and shows a sitter with a similarly over sized large hair comb worn at an acute angle.

Size: 8 ins h x 8 ins w (20 x 20 cms)


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Egyptian Revival Hair Comb with Stylised Pharaohs Head

Ref: DE-1401-003

This unusual comb and very striking hair comb is an excellent example of how the Egyptian Revival movement was interpreted for the popular American market.

The base material is French bright red celluloid with a wedge shaped heading cut into a triangular shape at the top of the wedge. The deep red contrasts with the bright blue paint which has been applied to the border, and the added motifs. Chief of these is the “pharaoh” head within an oval cartouche which has been placed in the centre.  The colours used – deep blue and dark red, are typical of ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and help to give the comb its Egyptian look.

The Oriental theme in costume and ornament was very strong in the opening years of the 20th century. This taste for the exotic was given a fresh impetus by the discovery of the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamen in 1922. There was no attempt to reproduce genuine Egyptian ornaments, and the designs were a pastiche featuring Egyptian type motifs such as scarab beetles or the heads of pharaohs, or featuring typical Egyptian materials such as faux turquoise, coral or lapis lazuli.

Size: 6¼ ins h x 4½ ins h (16 x 11 cms)


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