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Thu, 08.30.1860

Black History and the Hot Comb, a story

Blue Print of the Hot Comb

*Black history and the Hot Comb were affirmed on this date in 1860. The hot comb straightens hair without the use of harsh chemicals.

A white Frenchman, Marcel Grateau, is often accredited with the invention in the late 1800s. At the time, the hot comb was used by white women in Europe. According to the European Patent Office, Grateau has patents for a “hair-waving iron” and a curling iron rather than a hot comb.  

Madame Walker and Annie Malone were issued the first American patent for the Hot Comb. In 1886, the invention was marketed in popular American store catalogs like Bloomingdale’s. Walter Sammons of Philadelphia applied for Patent No. 1,362,823 on April 9, 1920. The patent was granted on December 21, 1920. Other individuals with patents for hot combs include a St. Louis-based woman named Clara Grant in 1925. Some sources have credited Poro Company founder Malone with receiving the first patent for this tool that same year, but the Official Gazette of the U. S. Patent Office does not list her as a holder of a hot comb patent in 1920.

Also, the Patent Office Gazette of May 16, 1922, however, includes Annie M. Malone of St. Louis in a list of patentees of designs as being granted Patent No. 60,962 for “sealing tape,” which Chajuana V. Trawick describes in a December 2011 doctoral dissertation as a decorative tape used to “secure the closure of the box lid of Poro products” to prevent others from selling products in packages made to look like Poro products.

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