"Figaro" drying hood, 1910 - 1920

 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
Collection Area
Everyday Life
Household Technology
Everyday Life - directions for use
1910 - 1919
  • Dr. Roswitha Muttenthaler
In around 1910, a fresh breeze swept through the hairdressing salons. The invention of shampoos and so-called "hot air showers" led to hairwash being offered in hairdressing salons.

An ethyl alcohol lamp and a propeller generated the warm airstream in the initial blowing devices, which were used from about 1890 onwards. However, the success story of hood dryers and blow-dryers only began with the introduction of more efficient electric devices, which met the new body care requirements. Rising hygiene standards demanded a more frequent hairwash and hair dryers simplified the lengthy procedure. When short hairstyles became more popular, the devices were also used for hair-styling purposes.

This drying hood on exhibit at the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) used two sources of energy: electricity and gas. A voluminous electric universal motor powered the blower, while a gas burner generated the heat. This concept, however, did not prevail. The improved electric heating coil soon replaced the gas burner as heat source. The blower is connected to tubes with holes arranged in an octopus-shaped manner. In this way, the warm air which escapes is not simply emitted into the room, as was the case with previous devices. This type of blow-dryer enables an even distribution of the warm air as well as the quick release of the humid air.

The hood dryer was mainly used in the 1930s and 1940s. It was in use until the 1950s. From about 1935 onwards, lighter and more compact motors and blowers were placed directly on the hood. From about 1950 onwards, a closed Plexiglass hood replaced the tubed hood. Unlike portable hair-dryers, hood dryers were, for a long time, only used in hairdressing salons. Only in the late 1950s were models introduced to the market which were intended for household use.

Inv.Nr. 53867/2

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