Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The hair dryer, the invention that was born by chance as a hybrid between a vacuum cleaner and a blender

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Diffusers, special nozzles, different powers, speeds and temperatures are some of the peculiarities of the hair dryer, a small device that accompanies us in our daily beauty routine.

The first attempts to manufacture a hair dryer date back to the end of the 19th century, a time when devices that generated hot air using a flame, such as what was known as a hood dryer, were used. These models were bulky, heavy and, moreover, unsafe, and their use was very limited to a few beauty salons.

Between the vacuum cleaner and the blender

The inventor of the modern hair dryer was French inventor Alexandre Ferdinand Godefroy, who incorporated it into his Parisian dressing table. It seems to have been born out of chance. When a hairdresser placed a client with wet hair under the hood of a gas stove to see what would happen, what happened was as expected: it absorbed the moisture and dried the hair. It was 1920 at that time.

The Godefroy dryer, as the invention became popular, was a reverse vacuum: it had an air pump that created a vacuum, a motor that heated the gases inside and a tube through which the heat exited.

Two American companies improved on a French hairdresser's invention by combining the hot air discharge used in vacuum cleaners with a blender motor, and from that strange pairing emerged the first portable dryers in history. After all, it was very bulky and heavy and produced very little air.

Hair dryer reaches homes

Another three decades should pass until the hair dryer became a common appliance in homes, when more compact and lighter models appeared, which also allowed setting different temperatures and speeds.

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In 1951, helmet dryers appeared, consisting of a dryer connected to a tube and attached to a helmet that fit over the head. When the dryer is turned on, air flows through the tube and is expelled through small vents arranged around the helmet.

In the following decade, technology improved dramatically with lighter materials and more powerful engines. The next improvement in safety measures occurred when temperature stop switches and fault interruption circuits were incorporated…

Dangerous device

For a long time, hair dryers have been associated with fatal accidents, and it was not entirely uncommon for someone to be electrocuted by a hair dryer that did not meet safety standards. The accident was more frequent when the dryer came into contact with water.

For this reason, in the 1970s, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission established guidelines so that certain measures would be met in manufacturing.

Fortunately, at this time, the models we have available, in addition to being very safe, are light (made of titanium and ceramic), powerful and dry the hair in record time. The development of ionic dryers, which emit negative ions, has allowed them to expand their performance by reducing hair frizz.

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