Saturday, September 22, 2012


Wherever there are people there are combs. Combs made of bone and shell and ivory survive from 5000 years ago. The first combs were made as decorative ornaments. They not only kept hair in place, but there is evidence that they were used to clean hair of parasites. Speaking of which, some say the bubonic plague was spread by fleas passed along in nit-picking combs.

The plastic comb arrived in the mid-nineteenth century when an early plastic, Parkesine or Celluloid, replaced tortoise shell and elephant ivory. In fact, one of the first uses of plastic was in the manufacturing of combs. Later the "unbreakable" comb arrived in the 1940's made of nylon. 

Because of their rarity we particularly cherish doll's combs and brushes. In the welter of combs we've found over the years we have just two Barbie combs in our collection. Imagine finding that tiny toy groomer in the vast expanse of sand and surf;  that tiny thing in the welter of debris washing in. We found a sparkly little comb from a Ty Girlz doll. Cutesy tween-age girls, the main feature is the style-able hair. Hey, com'n get 'em: there's Pretty Patty, Totally Trish, Punky Penny. And just off the assembly line in 2008, you could buy a set of the two Obama Girlz. It was a big controversy when the dolls were named Sasha and Malia, the actual names of the Obama daughters. The Girlz were recalled and are now called Marvelous Maria and Sweet Sydney. An unre-called pair sold on e-Bay for $3000. The dolls are brought to you by the folks who generated the Beanie Baby frenzy.

It's said that combing or brushing the hair is healthful not only for bringing luster and vitality to the hair itself but the act of stimulating the scalp has an acupunctural effect. We don't have data on this idea but it sure feels good to unsnarl the hair and run the nubs of a brush or comb along the scalp. Anyone who commutes would do well to have a scalp massager comb on hand to keep the driver alert.

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