I’ve heard about several stylists and hairdressers who are said to be inventors. When exactly was the straightening iron invented and who was the first one to introduce the tool which we’re using today?
Hairdressers made their first attempts to make a tool that would straighten hair by applying heat on it in the 1870s.
For example, in 1872 Marcel Grateau presented a hot comb that would straighten human hair.
In the 1900s, Madame C.J. Walker also used combs for that purpose but their teeth were wider. Moreover, she combined her invention with straightening lotions.
Her mentor Annie Malone is sometimes considered to be the patentee of a hot comb. In 1882, Erica Feldman introduced the first styling tool that resembled modern straightening irons.
The first man who patented a straightening iron was Simon Monroe. He created a mix of a comb and a flat iron, and it straightened hair also by heating it.
The next patentee of a flat iron was Isaac K. Shero. His styling tool patented in 1909 was a lot like flat irons which we’re using nowadays as it was composed of two heated plates that were pressed together.
In 1912, Jennifer Bell Schofield combined the ideas of her predecessors, and her straightening device was made of two heated plates that were held together with a joint.
As you can see, her invention bears the closest resemblance to the modern flat iron. Obviously, in the 20th century straightening irons have become more convenient and less dangerous due to the care of many stylists and engineers.
So, there are actually several people who made a contribution to inventing the flat iron. As this process took more than a century, I don’t think that we can say that the flat iron was invented in some particular year.