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Benares House Gallery
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Hair Comb
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Title: Hair Comb
Identifier: 979.6.1124
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1890-1910
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A decorative hair comb with long plastic tines in a tortoise shell pattern. Attached to the celluloid is a decorative metal piece. On the reverse side of the metal is inscribed the word "sterling".

It was in the Victorian times that the term "A Woman’s Crowning Glory" was coined. Hairstyles were elaborate creations decorated with fancy combs. Combs are a universal item and can be found in all parts of the world. Early combs were made of bone, ivory and wood. Later silver, brass and tin were used. In the Victorian era tortoise shell and horn became common and popular in part because they could be made soft and mouldable by heating and became hard and retained shape when cooled. In 1869 celluloid the first man made plastic was created as a substitute for ivory. Celluloid was less expensive and easier to get and soon became the material of choice for combs. Celluloid combs were cheap and quick to make and imitated ivory and tortoise shell quite well.
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   Virtual Museum of Canada