Combs – A short history.
Comb with us on a brief journey recounting the history of one of the most revered and, more importantly, useful grooming inventions of the ages. A tool which we now take for granted to be present in our every day lives was first formed over five thousand years ago, or so we assume through findings of it in its refined forms at early Persian settlements.
Historically, the main purpose of a comb was to secure long hair in place or to matte sections of dreadlocks but had many other uses also; decorating the hair, for a festival or celebration and keeping a kippah or skullcap in place, often in religious communes or settlements.
Consisting of a single shaft and teeth running perpendicular to it, most common combs are made from plastic, wood or metal. We at Savills however are currently favouring more exotic material combs such as the Ox horn tools made by Copacetic Gent, which are bespoke handmade and polished.
There are four varieties in the Copacetic comb collection: A beard comb shaped like a knuckle duster (£15.50), a folding hair comb (£10.00), a straight edge comb and a slant edged hair comb (both £10.00) and all look great in the leather case holsters (£13.00).
Without a comb, a barber will struggle to create those classic styles such as the pompadour and slick back. The fine teeth help to part the hair in thinner increments than what a standard hair brush can do, helping to keep the straightness and give less wave and lift to the roots. Hand finished combs often have no rough joins between the teeth, which are great for beards as they don’t tug or pull the facial hair and instead, glide right through. The plastic varieties of comb, primarily used for hair, however do have a ridge that can catch the hair and help to lift it from the scalp, which is necessary for barbers and allow for ease of cutting.
Used combs are treated in the barbershop in a glass cylinder filled with Barbercide, a disinfecttant and fungicide solution between cuts. This is to avoid passing any skin, scalp residue, or bodily fluids from client to client via what attaches to the combs teeth. A clean barbershop is a healthy and hepatitis free barbershop!
It’s safe to say that without a comb, many traditions and trades would not be where they are today; a world without glamorous ceremonies, without salons and barbershops, all that would be, a population of disheveled and disgruntled humans, all tangled up in their own hair and desperately crying out for something to tame the locks. Cheers to our ancestors and their ingenuity, our barnet will forever be thankful!