Victorian Curling Irons

 

In two recent posts, we’ve taken a peek at women’s hairstyles of the Victorian Era, specifically the 1890’s, where cutting bangs to curl about the forehead was fashionable and often required Victorian curling irons. This hairstyle was frequently noted in magazines, newspapers, and cabinet card (photographs) of the era.

My most recent post showed the hair pieces for sale (1895 and 1897) in the Montgomery, Ward & Co. catalog and the Sears & Roebuck Catalog. This ease of purchase made it simple for a woman who didn’t want to cut her hair–a true work of a lifetime–but desired to appear fashionable. Every female of this generation (and every generation in between) understands that vanity.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Curling Irons. Examples of cut and curled bangs in late nineteenth-century photographs of women.

See related blog article: L-O-N-G Victorian Hair.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Hair Augmentation. Related to Victorian Curling Irons.

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Note: this photograph of Laura Ingalls Wilder on the book cover of a nonfiction bigraphy illustrates Laura's hair with bangs cut and curled on the forehead.

Note: this photograph of Laura Ingalls Wilder on the book cover of a nonfiction biography illustrates Laura’s hair with bangs cut and curled on the forehead.

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I remember reading one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books wherein she shares her growing up during the frontier years of American history. In one of the later books, covering the years when she, Laura, came of age, she related the desire to cut bangs and to then curl them, in keeping with the style of her day. Laura’s mother fought against the idea, urging her daughter to maintain the more classic long-all-over hair that never went out of style. Laura heated rods on the stove to then apply to her cut bangs to curl them. Do you remember reading that part of Laura’s growing-up years?

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One or Two in the Fire

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Curling irons were available in the Sears, Roebuck & Co. Catalog as well as in the Montgomery, Ward & Co. Catalog. Just in the 1897 and 1895 editions, respectively, the following basic designs were available for sale.

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“$0.05 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $1.43 in 2015.”

“$0.02 (postage rate of this least-expensive iron) of 1895 dollars would be worth: $0.57 in 2015.”

“$0.06 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $1.71 in 2015.”

“$0.10 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $2.86 in 2015.”

(2015 is latest year available) ~ DaveManuel.com

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“$0.30 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $8.57 in 2015.”

“$0.20 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $5.71 in 2015.”

(2015 is latest year available) ~ DaveManuel.com

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“$0.04 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $1.14 in 2015.”

“$0.07 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $2.00 in 2015.”

“$0.12 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $3.43 in 2015.”

(2015 is latest year available) ~ DaveManuel.com

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HEATING AT THE VANITY TABLE (perhaps only for the über wealthy)

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“$0.90 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $25.71 in 2015.”

(2015 is latest year available) ~ DaveManuel.com

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Curling Irons. "Hair Curling Set with alcohol lamp", engraved and ornamented. Advertised on page 462 of Sears Catalog No. 104, year 1897.

“Hair Curling Set, with alcohol lamp, is bright burnished and engraved, with raised ornamentation. Price, including fine plated curling iron, $2.90.” Advertised on page 462 of Sears Catalog No. 104, year 1897.

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“$2.90 of 1897 dollars would be worth: $82.86 in 2015.”

(2015 is latest year available) ~ DaveManuel.com

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“$0.15 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $4.29 in 2015.”

“$0.16 of 1895 dollars would be worth: $4.57 in 2015.”

(2015 is latest year available) ~ DaveManuel.com

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Marshall Fields, another mail-order catalog from 1896 also sold curling irons much like their competitors:

Kristin Holt | Victorian Curling Irons. Curling Irons sold by Marshall Fields Catalog, 1896.

Curling Irons sold by Marshall Fields Catalog, 1896.

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Historical Example

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Curling Irons. Photograph of a late Victorian, embossed, silver mounted curling iron with heater and box, with maker's mark of Charles Fox & Co. Ltd and Chester hallmark for 1897. Sold by The Salesroom in 2013.

“A late Victorian, embossed, silver mounted curling tongs heater, the box incorporates a compartment into which is fitted a pair of folding curling tongs with silver handles, the box with a maker’s mark of Charles Fox & Co. Ltd. and Chester hallmark for 1897, the tongs with a late Victorian Birmingham mark for Charles Fox, box length 17cm.” Quote and photo credit: The Salesroom, The home of art & antiques auctions.

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Related Articles

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Kristin Holt | Late Victorian-era Beauty Secrets

Kristin Holt | Victorian Hair Receiver

Kristin Holt | Victorian Hair Indicative of Character

Kristin Holt | L-O-N-G Victorian Hair

Kristin Holt | Victorian Hair Augmentation

Kristin Holt | Lady Victorian's Secret

Kristin Holt | 19th Century Earrings: Fact or Fiction?

Kristin Holt | False Beauty Spots

Kristin Holt | Old West Bath Tubs

Kristin Holt | Styling Ladies' Hair, American 19th Century

Kristin Holt | Victorian Ladies' Hairdressers

Kristin Holt | Victorian Era Feminine Hygiene

Kristin Holt | Mail-Order Catalogs and the Old West

Kristin Holt | Mail-Order Catalogs Timeline and Truth

Kristin Holt | Old West Barber Shop

Kristin Holt | Victorian Cooking: The Sifter ~ An American Victorian Invention?

Kristin Holt | Victorian Era: the American West

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Updated August 2020
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt LC
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