Late Victorian or Edwardian amber colour mantilla style hair comb
This listing features a pretty hand carved hair comb, part of a collection of old/new stock kept in storage for many years from a closed Leominster factory.
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 5 ins h x 4 ins w (13 x 10 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890s to 1900s
This is a lovely hand made amber celluloid mantilla style hair comb. Such combs are so called because of their resemblance to the high topped combs which Spanish ladies wear with their traditional dress. This one has an attractive asymmetric design with a band of pierced scroll work running diagonally across the heading.
Such combs were worn placed high on the crown of the head so that the beautiful openwork design of the heading was clearly visible from all angles. The final picture is of a contemporary late Victorian fashion engraving and shows details of the complex hairdressing and high topped fashionable hair combs of the period.
In the USA the making of combs was still a handicraft until the later 19th century, when the use of synthetic materials like celluloid began to take over. However the small local manufactories had given way to much larger organisations where they were being produced in vast numbers by means of mechanical die-stamping. Polishing and finishing, including painting the horn with chemicals to simulate the tortoise markings, was often undertaken as a cottage industry by women and children who were the families of the comb-makers.
The town of Leominster was one of the largest centres for comb making in the USA, and the home of many large factories. There are several historical museums in the city dedicated to the industry and a rich literature has been published.
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