Three celluloid hair combs in the iconic sunray Art Deco style
CONDITION: Good vintage condition with acceptable wear
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1920s
MATERIALS: celluloid faux tortoiseshell
Here is a collection of three striking Art Deco celluloid hair combs made in the iconic fan shape, in which lines or blades radiate out from the base of the heading. In this example the comb base is celluloid faux tortoiseshell.
This heading design is typical of many combs of the period, with radiating lines or panels resembling sunrays, or perhaps the spokes of a wheel. These may be solid or of open work.
#1 large comb 5 ins h x 5 ins w (13 x 13 cm) decorative part 2½ ins h (6 cm)
#2 medium comb 5 ins h x 3½ ins w (13 x 9 cm) decorative part 1½ ins h (4 cm)
#3 small comb 4½ ins h x 3 ins w (11 x 7.5 cm)
One theory about such designs is that the sun rays emerged from the popular vogue for sunbathing which began at this time. Previously ladies had shunned the idea of sunbathing. Another theory is that the spoke like designs reflected the wheel, and the obsession with speed and technology. This was the age of the car and the plane after all!
Such combs became extremely fashionable in Britain and America during the early 20th century. They were worn in a characteristic manner, being placed in the side or back of the hairdressing at an acute angle, and in such a way that the tall heading stood up proud. This enabled the often beautiful openwork decoration or the decorative effect which had been applied to the material, to be viewed from all angles, and for the details to be seen effectively outlined against the light.
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Three sunray design hair combs Art Deco period hair accessory
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