May 09, 2014

Comb

Traditional Chinese Combs

A comb is a toothed device used in hair care for straightening and cleaning hair or other fibres. Combs are among the oldest tools found by archaeologists, having been discovered in very refined forms from settlements dating back to 5000 years ago in Persia.

The earliest use of the comb can be traced to as far back as 5,000 years ago. In fact, primitive versions of the comb have been found throughout history by archaeologists. As early as 5500 B.C. the ancient Egyptians carved out combs among other remnants of the emerging cultures. In ancient China, combs were worn as hair accessories that reflected one’s social status. Over time, combs have evolved into more efficient tools for hair maintenance and hair care. Today, there are hundreds of different combs depending on your hair length, texture and type.

Combs can be made out of a number of materials, most commonly wood or plastic. Ivory and tortoiseshell were once common but concerns for the animals that produce them have reduced their usage. When made from wood, combs are largely made of boxwood, cherry wood or other fine-grained wood. Good quality wooden combs are usually handmade and polished.

Combs can vary in shape according to function. Hairdressing combs may have a thin, tapered handle for parting hair and close teeth. Common hair combs usually have wider teeth half way and finer teeth for the rest of the comb. Combs serve different functions for different hair types and styles. Typically, combs are used to tame stray hairs and detangle wet hair. Another common use for the comb is to secure hair in one position before placing it in a ponytail. Combs may also be used to part hair for coloring, conditioning and braiding. Combs can also be worn as decorative accessories that hold hair in a specific style. During the 1930s and 1940s, when sophisticated updos were the fashion, the decorative hair comb emerged as the accessory of choice.

Combs can be used for many purposes including: securing long hair in place; decorating the hair; matting sections of hair for dreadlocking; or keeping a kippah or skullcap in place. In Spain, a Peineta is a large decorative comb to keep a mantilla in place.

In industry and craft, combs are used in separating cotton fibres from seeds and other debris (the cotton gin, a mechanized version of the comb, is one of the machines that ushered the Industrial Revolution). A comb is used to distribute colours in paper marbling to make the swirling colour patterns in comb-marbled paper.

Combs are also a favorite spot for police investigators to collect hair and dandruff samples that can be used in ascertaining dead or living people’s identities, as well as their state of health, toxicological profiles, and so forth.

In industry and craft, combs are used in separating cotton fibres from seeds and other debris (the cotton gin, a mechanized version of the comb, is one of the machines that ushered the Industrial Revolution). A comb is used to distribute colours in paper marbling to make the swirling colour patterns in comb-marbled paper.

Combs are also a favorite spot for police investigators to collect hair and dandruff samples that can be used in ascertaining dead or living people’s identities, as well as their state of health, toxicological profiles, and so forth.

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