The Hair Dryer

Vintage Industrial Hair Dryer 1960s

Personal Selection

I chose the hair dryer because not only did I consider going to hair school before DAAP, but also it is commonly overlooked for its huge convenience in everyday life.

History

The hair dryer was invented by Alexander Godefroy in France in the late 1880s. It was an industrial hooded dryer that fit over the head which was then connected to a gas stove or chimney for heat. These types of hair dryers are still popular in salons today. Handheld commercial use hair dryers were first made available in 1915 by Gabriel Kanzajian. With only 100 watts of electricity and weighing in at over 3 lbs. each, these first hair dryers were not the most ergonomic. Innovations made in the plastic industry, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and electrical advances helped handheld dryers have a higher amount of voltage, lightweight material, and more powerful fans that we see today.

Function/Purpose

The primary use of this object is cosmetic. A hair dryer is essentially an electric fan that blows air across a heating coil and onto the hair. Though used primarily to dry hair quickly, the hair dryer can also be used to dry hair in many different styles. For example, if you want to avoid the powerful wind of the motor straightening your hair, you could use a diffuser which allows the hair to be gently dried and “swirled”, resulting in curls.

User

Though the primary users are women from their 20s to 50s, hair dryers have been used by men and women, all over the world, and of all age groups. Therefore, it’s important for this product to have an ergonomic structure and function in order for this diversity of people to be able to comfortably use it.

Materials + Production

The obvious materials used in the hair dryer is an electrical fan and plastic covering. However, the inside of the dryer contains many electrical parts such as switches controlling speed and temperature, the fan blade, and heating coils.

Affordance

The cord in the hair dryer that plugs into the outlet affords pushing and pulling.

First Hair Dryer 1880s
First Handheld Hair Dryer 1920s
Industrial Salon Hair Dryer 1950s
Hair Dryer 2000s

Resources:

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