Something permanent

Sanders Permanent Wave machine with a doll, Collection of Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi

Sanders Permanent Wave machine with a doll, Collection of Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi

That tightly curled hair on the head of Elayne Goodman’s subject (see yesterday’s post) is not far from what many girls and women in the 1930s desired so much that they would go to a beauty parlor and pay to be hooked up to what looks like a torture device. I came across the electric Sanders Permanent Wave machine in this photograph at the Oren Dunn City Museum, Tupelo. Electrical currents passed through wires, thus creating enough heat to keep the ladies’ hair curled, if not permanently, then at least until the next appointment.

(If you do an internet search for Sanders Permanent Wave machines, you’ll see circa 1930s photographs of small girls who must be all of five years old seated at the beauty parlor, connected to one of these machines, their mothers smiling and waiting for their own, darling little Shirley Temples to emerge.)

Can hair-dos be considered art?  Have you seen any masterful heads of hair lately? In Victorian times, people made jewelry from hair to remember their loved ones. Horse hair was expertly woven into upholstery cloth. Do you know anyone who makes art using hair?

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