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tline3open  Aluminum combs

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Author Topic:   Aluminum combs
Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In an earlier thread (Antique aluminum spoon) I promised to post pictures of my collection of aluminum combs and hair ornaments.

I believe these are from the 1900s-1920s, mostly the teens. I love them for their design and their incredible hand work. We think of aluminum as a cheap metal for machine-driven mass production, but these things were all finely cut and engraved by hand, with their zillion rhinestones hand set. They were meant to imitate platinum set with diamonds.

I've also included a few cut-steel combs from the same period or slightly earlier.

First, a photo of most of my collection, to give you a sense of the relative sizes:

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The biggest one, in the center of the first photo, is a back comb. I believe it's from the late 1890s or the first decade of the 20th century because of its Art Nouveau-y shape--and also because hairstyles requiring back combs were going out of style by the teens.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the top center is a large lacy deco-style comb top that has lost its celluloid comb part. Looks late teens or early 1920s to me.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A barrette, I'm guessing from the teens:

The clasp mechanism is steel.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two small aluminum combs with celluloid teeth (at least, I'm guessing it's celluloid--I don't know that much about early plastics):

I think these are probably from the 1920s, but that's just a guess. Could be the teens.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This one's solid aluminum, and unlike almost all of them, it's marked.

If anyone knows anything about these manufacturers or knows of any books about them, please tell!

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
An aluminum side comb with a celluloid (?) body; I can post a photo of the other one of these if anyone wants (I think I have some on my camera).

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cut steel combs attached by hinges to what may be celluloid or horn tines. I think these could be earlier--maybe from the 1890s or 1880s.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I love this one. It's a cut steel butterfly. 1890s? 1880s? 1900s? Not sure. Guesses welcome.

Again, I don't know what the tines are made of. Horn? Celluloid? Tortoise shell?

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This one was once a big tiara-type comb, but it lost its tines long ago and somebody attached a silver chain to it to make it into a necklace. It's a cool necklace, but it looks upside-down to me that way.

It's cut steel and paste.

Back side:

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And this is my new one that I just got yesterday. I'm madly in love with it. It's an aluminum comb from the 1920s, with a plume-shaped top and curvy tines. And it's dimensional! Not only did someone carve, engrave, and set rhinestones in all those plumes, but they somehow figured out how to bend them so they pass behind each other.

Isn't the back view cool?

See how dimensional?

And look at the hilarious mark! Platinum!

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's all for now. I have another plume one coming in the mail--I'll post it when it gets here--but it's not nearly as good. And I think I have another one or two lurking in a drawer somewhere--I'll post them if they turn up.

These things can be pretty inexpensive, since aluminum gets no respect. Of course, now I'll probably have more competition for them...

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oops, I see I neglected to photograph the biggish one at the upper right corner. Let me know if anyone wants to see it closer up.

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Scott Martin
Forum Master

Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 05-07-2012 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing.

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ellabee

Posts: 306
Registered: Dec 2007

iconnumber posted 05-10-2012 12:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ellabee     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Your latest acquisition is my favorite of those, Polly (though I love them all). It reminds me of the Milton Glaser poster of Bob Dylan.

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jersey

Posts: 1202
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 05-10-2012 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hello Polly,

Lovely collection, make me wish I had long hair again.

There are several books on Hair comb collecting.
Authors are: Norma Hague, Mary Batchman & Evelyn Haertig. I'm sure a search will bring them up.

Also, there is such a metal as Platinum!

Have fun with your treasures.

Jersey

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-10-2012 11:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, Jersey! I do have that comb book--thanks for reminding me.

The mark is plat*U*n*I*um, not platinum. With a U instead of an I and then an extra I at the end. See? They fooled you!!!

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 05-13-2012 01:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As promised, here's a photo of the other plume-shaped 1920s comb, which arrived yesterday.

Poor thing, it has a couple of broken celluloid (?) tines and pales in comparison to its Platunium sister.

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Polly

Posts: 1843
Registered: Nov 2004

iconnumber posted 06-03-2017 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Polly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got a new comb--the one in the middle:

Back:

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