The Hot Air Behind the History of the Hair Dryer

When the hairdryer first blew into town it was a huge, cumbersome, technological feat. Like hairstyles over the decades, things have changed.
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Imagine using your vacuum cleaner to dry your hair. Possible? Of course. Practical? Not really. Silly looking? Absolutely. In the early 1900s, it wasn’t unheard of for people to go to that extreme in order to get their locks of hair dried as quickly as possible.

Remember, these were the days long, long, before portable vacuums existed. But why the desperation to get a person’s hair dried with something mechanical instead of a towel? Since its professional debut in the late 1800s, the hair dryer (or blow dryer, for some people) has had the ability to look slightly…odd. It’s an invention that has always shamelessly attempted to look like more than it actually is: a tool that allows its users avoid having to reach for a towel after washing their locks.

Looking at the options available in today’s hair care market, it’s difficult not to come to the conclusion that the engineers behind the modern hair dryer favor designs that lean heavily on what a person might come across as the description of a weapon straight out of a space-based sci-fi novel. That design philosophy has its roots from the early days of hair being blown into style, and chances are good a generation from now people will be looking back at today’s hair dryers and scratching their heads just like you might be looking at the photographic evidence of where plugging in to dry your hair all started.