Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to give the credit to one person for the invention of the curling iron. Throughout history going back hundreds of years we have seen different hair styles between men and women that involved curls. Babylonian and Assyrian men curled their hair and beards. In the 17th and 18th century we see wigs that were endowed with curls. Moving into the 19th century is where we find the first patent for a hair curling device held by Hiram Maxim. Maxim is known for inventing the first machine gun (Maxim gun).
There have been chemicals and drying techniques tried and perfected for quite some time. Some techniques took hours while others took the health out of your hair. The curling iron seems to be the one device for curling and or straightening hair that has made it through the ages. Evolving from the root name of curling tongs; curling irons that were once heated by sticking them in hot coals or warming them up on a stove are now heated electronically. And the heat can be controlled by the user. Can you imagine the number of burned fingers and scalps from a hot metal rod glowing orange from being stuck in a bed of coals? The price our ancestor’s head and hair had to endure seems merciless.
Thankfully, we have come a long way to the curling devices of today. With thousands of different hairstyles to choose from, it seems only fitting to have so many hair styling devices to choose from. Not only can we curl hair but we can straighten it too. Using the same technology but with flat tongs instead of a barrel we can turn curly hair into straight hair. Couple this with the modern day hair products that litter the shelves at your favorite shopping center and you have a recipe for style.
With curling irons you practically have dozens of different styles to choose from. You can choose different barrel sizes to get your hair to react how you would like. Get a small barrel for tight curls or a large 2″ barrel for loose dangling bouncy curls. You can choose different lengths of the barrel also. Go with a long barrel for everyday use and that sweet bounce; and curling irons with smaller handles and barrel lengths for travel. Some are made from stainless steel and some are ceramic. You can control temperature so that damaging the hair is now a thing of the past. And all devices come with safety features to protect you and others in the home. So don’t worry if you forget to unplug it, it will shut off on its own.
So with all this great technology and hundreds of curling irons out there who gets credit for actually inventing the curling iron? I believe that one still remains a mystery. It has evolved over the centuries just as fast and as bold as hairstyles and fashion has. And as long as we as people continue to evolve and progress so will the curling irons of the hair fashion industry.