Tag Archives: Hair

Women “Bobbed” for Having a Bob 1923

Women “Bobbed” for Having a Bob 1923

Bobbed hair, says a cable from London, is rapidly passing out in England. In Manchester hospitals all nurses have been ordered to allow their hair to grow. In future one no one will be allowed to look after the patients with a Bob. Many London restaurants and department stores have issued notices to the same effect. In Almonte the Gazette is informed that bobbed hair is still popular with those who have bobbed it, but is just as unpopular with those who refused to conforn with the rage of short hair. The situation seems to be that there will be no increase in the number of the “bobbed” but– there will on the other hand be a gradual decrease until all the ladies are back into the fashionable long hair once again.

Almonte Gazette November 1923

Most people trace the popularity of bobbed hair in Western fashion back to the 1920s, thanks to the haircut’s close association with the image of the flapper. However, the cigarette-smoking, flask-wielding flapper of the 1920s didn’t exactly start this trend. In 1920, the New York Times traced the origins of the bob “epidemic” to 1903, when two female students at Bryn Mawr college appeared with short hair to play basketball. The article also claims that bobbed hair became popular in Greenwich Village between 1908 and 1912, thanks to the influence of “intellectual women” from Russia who used bobbed hair to disguise themselves from police.

Meanwhile, those who wanted women to maintain their traditional roles as well-behaved daughters and wives did whatever they could to discourage the trend for bobbed hair. Preachers conducted sermons against it, schools banned it and pamphlets warned young women that short hair would lead to a variety of undesirable health conditions. A New York Times article from 1920 says that young women with disapproving parents went so far as to go to their doctors’ offices to be diagnosed with falling hair in order to receive a “prescription” for a bob haircut.

American actress Louise Brooks, shown here in 1929, was known for her daring short bobbed hair. Source: (John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
The hairstylists who were willing to cut a woman’s hair so drastically found that they were ill-equipped to cut and style women’s hair into the modern bob. They had only even trimmed long hair with shears. The women visited barber shops, instead, where the barbers were willing to chop off their hair and had an assortment of fine scissors and clippers to do a neat job. 

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The 1960s Almonte Fashion Show — Names Names Names

1960’s Fashion Shows– Once a Huge Extravaganza!

The Alice Walker Fashion Show 1974 Carleton Place

You Better Work it Girl! Cover Girls of Carleton Place 1965

Miss Civitan Club 1976? Who Are These Women?

Mary Cook’s Deportment Classes for Young Ladies in Carleton Place

Carleton Place Mod Fashion Show 1960’s

And Then There was Cook’s– and Most of All Mary Cook

Fashion Faux Pas in the Cemetery

Style Watch and Fashion Notes 1881

  1. Saved by Her Corset
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Shopping Online in China — I Bought This and Look What I Got!

The Poker Face of Corsets and Waist Training -1800s Fashion Comes Back in Style

The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

The “Bustle Period” in Ladies Fashion.

Nelson R Baker- Fashionable Tailor of Lanark

McLean the Tailor from Lanark and Other News

Documenting Howard Little — Barber of Carleton Place

Documenting Howard Little — Barber of Carleton Place

Photo- Martin McNabb

Jim Antonakas had previously purchased the building 2.5 years before that fateful day. Antonakas had originally operated a restaurant in the Byward Market in Ottawa. Everything in the restaurant and garage was destroyed but the firemen aided by the residents of Carleton Place were able to save almost all of the equipment in the barber shop. Later Mr. Little rented space in Ernie Foote’s building on Bridge Street and was expected to move in shortly. In a wonderful small-town gesture Bill Miller, owner of the Queen’s Hotel supplied breakfast free of charge to all the Carleton Place and Almonte firemen. During the fire coffee was served to the fire fighters by Dorothy Burns Snack Bar, the Queen’s Hotel and nearby neighbours.

Author’s note– I had no idea until Lynn Hastie Card told me this morning that Harold Little was the great great grandfather of my granddaughter Tenley Card Seccaspina.

Julia Waugh GuthrieWe had this chair at the cottage for years. Many a time Roge Timmins( grandson of Howard McNeely) and Bruce Guthrie ( grandson of Howard Little) would have shave offs with straight razors.Not sure who won, maybe Teddy Hurdis can tell us….Ohh and I believe they all might have had a bevie or two.

Steve TimmonsJulia Waugh Guthrie Think Dave D got a close shave one nite lol

Ted HurdisJulia Waugh Guthrie we won’t talk about Dave’s close cut. I will say there was no stubble left and a little blood lost but it’s all good !!!

Lynn Hastie-Card to Linda Seccaspina— Howard Little is my grandfather, my Mom’s dad and my cousin I believe still has the chair.

Norma Ford— My brother Jim Dorman helped some guys get the barbershop chair out of the shop, I wonder what ever happened to that chair. I remember he was quite proud of helping.

Joan Stoddart– Mr Little had a horse seat he put over the arms of the chair so little guys would be taller . I remember my brother’s first hair cut from Mr. Little

Jim LockhartHad a number of haircuts in Howard Little’s chair.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Dec 1898, Thu  •  Page 2

Bill BrownThanks for this – my grandfather Harvey Campbell was good friends with Howard Little and were apparently on the same baseball team as I just found out!! ❤️

Ray PaquetteThe last hair cut I got from Howard was in September 1968. I was home on leave and during my time at sea, I had grown a beard. My fiancee (and late wife) was not too enamoured with the thought of me in a beard and so in addition to the haircut, Howard got to shave me! This was at his shop which is the site of the Black Tartan..

Julia Waugh GuthrieMy husband has his straight razor and a few other things from his barber shop.

Diane Lackey JohnsonMy Dad, Gordon Lackey, spent a lot of time with his good friend Howard Little in that barber shop.♥️

The picture is of Howard Little courtesy of Julia Waugh Guthrie- thank Julia!
Julia Waugh Guthrie
January 13, 2020  · 

Found these cards of Bruce’s two Grandfathers. Howard Little , Carleton Place Barber and Norman Guthrie from Almonte who did sign painting.

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
13 Mar 1946, Wed  •  Page 20
Julia Waugh Guthrie
July 6, 2020  · 

Just got this little seat back. It was placed on Howard Littles barber chair for little boys to get their brush cuts. Mrs Little then passed it on to Cora Nolan to use.
Beside Bruce and Bob Houston can anyone else remember this pony chair ?

I know how Rena Little Hastie got her name now– From her Dad’s late sister.

CLIPPED FROMThe Ottawa CitizenOttawa, Ontario, Canada05 Apr 1943, Mon  •  Page 10

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Dec 1937, Tue  •  Page 27
The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
22 Oct 1949, Sat  •  Page 2

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
06 Feb 1937, Sat  •  Page 11

Leonard Little of Almonte has gone to Carleton Place, where he has taken over a barber shop on Bridge street und will conduct business for himself. Mr. Little learned his trade in Brockville and was therefor eight years. He was in Montreal’ for a year and laterwas with IV. B. James of Almonte. He is an excellent barber and a popular, young man who leaves many friends in his home town November 1930

Julia Waugh Guthrie
23h  · 
The story behind these photos. This is Colleen Guthrie and her sister Rena Hastie, who just happen to be the daughters of long time Carleton Place barber Howard Little.
The bench they are sitting on was in their fathers barber shop ( I am sure many of you males reading this have sat on it a time or two).
Colleen and Rena were telling us last night that they sat on it quite a number of times while waiting for Howard to finish up work.
Colleen celebrated her 91 st birthday yesterday, there is a lot of years worth of memories on this bench

related reading

As the Carleton Place Barber Pole Spins

Meet The Towne Barber of Bridge Street

Howard McNeely Mary Cook Clippings

1978 Almonte Gazette

Shawn Marshall

12 min. ago

My Grandfather was Wilmonte Little the barber on Bridge street in Almonte. He had the identical barber chair shown in the picture and it sits in my basement as of now.

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Letting my Hair Down — Linda Knight Seccaspina

I still have my original crimping iron from the first day of the “Regretful HairStyles 80s” era. It’s the colour of pink candy floss and works better than anything new on the market. When it comes to crazy hair and makeup, no decade trumps the 1980s– but throwing this crimping iron in the trash can is out of the question at this point in my life. They say ‘Old is not gold’, but honestly this crimping iron is along for the ride like the wine coolers, the cassettes and the mall. So do I still crimp or curl my hair? Personally, I always try not to anger the beast, and most days my life is held together by a single bobby pin.

Regretfully, I lost a vintage 1920s Marcel curling iron in my hair styling repertoire that I found in my Grandparent’s barn on South Street in Cowansville, Quebec. It was part wood and part metal and should have had a danger sign on it. Vintage curling irons were once heated on the fire or the stove for the most part, so I used my grandmother’s wood stove to warm it up. I was warned never to curl your hair with a vintage curling apparatus as they are dangerous and you can burn your hair off, and might even singe your scalp. Each time I used it my grandmother would get hysterical and tell me to be careful. In the hair salons of days past they used to try it on a piece of paper first before they curled their clients’ hair. Why am I thinking there must have been a few minor salon fires in those days?

My grandmother, Mary Louise Deller Knight got her first perm when she immigrated to Canada and it really didn’t go very well. She kept telling the hairdresser her hair hurt under one of those over-sized dryers and no one listened. It was a sad day after that my friends. Mary loved to control everything in her life, and sad to say you can’t. That’s why hair was put on your head to remind you of that very thing. So after they lifted the lid,  a lot of Mary’s hair fell out and eventually grew back very thinly.

Mary tried every potion and lotion known to man and finally she gave up, and that’s when Eva Gabor came into her life. They always say that beauty comes from inside– inside a hair salon actually– and we would make quarterly trips to Montreal to buy her Eva Gabor wigs and I never ever discussed it. When she asked me questions about certain styles I chose my words very wisely—until her golden years. That’s when she plopped those wigs on her head sideways, backwards, and any other position known to man, and someone had to tell her. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, just remember that no one really has control over their lives and your hair is here to remind you about that fact. On great days it swings like the hair in an old Breck commercial and on the bad days it’s frizzy and wavy when you can expect a day of total loss of control. You are as strong as the hairspray you use and always remind folks that the messy bun you are sporting actually took 18,501 tries. Thank you to the past few weeks of Canadian humidity– I always wanted to look likeThe Lion King said no one ever. Your comb is not a wand.

In the end my grandmother made me promise that when she died to make sure her wig was on her head straight which I did. Dead or alive– you need to look like you are not having a bad hair day, as after all, no one is looking at your shoes.

Hair Attention — Noreen Tyers

Hair Attention — Noreen Tyers

This was called Hair Attention if you were going to something special.

When we were young girls, a special occasion came up attention was given to your hair. Usually Saturdays were bath and hair washing day, and when you lived with no hot water, it was a challenge to my Mom to get us “cleaned up and presentable” as she would say. She would boil the kettle on the old coal stove and then wash our hair in the kitchen sink, yes the water was cooled. I can tell you complaining was not permitted.

Now hair brushing was done every evening before bed, one hundred strokes and for goodness sake, do not forget where you were at or you started over at one again. There were times when I did wonder if I had any hair left on my head. My Mom had two other sayings and there was no sense complaining as they when they were repeated time to time, you just knew to keep your mouth buttoned up. Her two favourite sayings were, “You Know Cleanliness is next to Godliness” the other one was, “You can’t make a Silk Purse out of a Sow’s Ear.” In other words, just grin and bear it, and accept the Words of Wisdom.

If it was a particular, special occasion, she would decide to put ringlets in your hair, oh dear I did not like ringlets, I was no prissy, princess, and that was for sure. This was a chore, she would patiently divide your hair, it had to be even, the right amounts of ringlets. I do think there were times in order to save time the ringlets would be larger, you know you would get fewer ringlets but they would be fatter. In some ways that was better as it took less time and suffering, it was a chore.Do not think that is the end of the hair treatment, Oh No, there was another step to this mission. First of all my Mom would have cut some strips of material maybe a House Dress that was worn thin in spots, and into lengths it would be cut. We would then wrap some hair around her finger and make a ringlet, a bobby pin was inserted to hold. Then we would wrap the ringlet with the strip of material. This would happen with every ringlet.

Now for a young child the whole deal was an evening job, and if both Grace and I had to be done, by the end of the second child the nerves could be frayed, the feet tired and the finger was exhausted of being in that ringlet position. Oh I hope I am first tonight, as it pulls a bit if Mom was tired. For some reason after each ringlet was made, it was patted and pressed up against your head. You know there you go, ringlets made, rags in and patted it up against the head. Your head was exhausted, and then another statement would come out “PRIDE PINCHES’‘. You have to know it was not my pride it was my mother’s pride, and she waited for the compliments on how the daughter’s hairs, looked, just look at the shine. If you only knew what it took, the curls, the brushing. Personally speaking, I did not care. Have you ever tried to rest your head on the pillow with a bunch of lumpy rags attached? UNCOMFORTABLE! Just to let you know with the rags in your hair, it was lumpy sleeping and a good night’s rest you did not get.

Lines From the ✒ of NoreenAugust 14/2021

The Handmade Tablecloth — Noreen Tyers

Cutting a Christmas Tree at the House of Old at R. R. # 4 — Noreen Tyers

Making the Fudge for that Special School Affair 1940s Noreen Tyers

The Teeter Totter Incident Noreen Tyers

Childhood Movie Nights at Reliance Motor Court in Eastview — Noreen Tyers

Hats, Ogilvy’s and Gaudy Teenage Years — Noreen Tyers

Sending Thoughts of Winter to You, from my Wee Dog Ruffy Noreen Tyers

A Trip in the Carrying Case– Noreen Tyers

Just Me Growing Up in the Early 1940’s Noreen Tyers

Grandma and the Cute Little Mice– From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Another Broken Bed Incident — Stories from Richards Castle — Noreen Tyers

Lets Play Elevator- Charles Ogilvy Store — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

At Church on Sunday Morning From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Jack’s in Charge-Scary Stories — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages —- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

I am Afraid of Snakes- From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Hitching a Ride Cross Town — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

My Old Orange Hat –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Out of the Old Photo Album — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers

Snow Road Ramblings from Richards Castle — From the Pen Of Noreen Tyers

Summer Holidays at Snow Road Cleaning Fish — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Snow Road Adventures- Hikes in the Old Cave — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Putting Brian on the Bus– Stories from my Childhood Noreen Tyers

My Childhood Memory of Richard’s Castle –From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Grandpa’s Dandelion Wine — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Wedding Tiara — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Art of Learning How to Butter Your Toast the Right Way — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Smocked Dresses–From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Kitchen Stool — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Flying Teeth in Church — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

The Writings of Noreen Tyers of Perth

Memories of Grandpa’s Workshop — Noreen Tyers

Cleaning out Grandmas’ Fridge — Noreen Tyers Summer Vacation at Richard’s Castle

My Flower Seeds — From the Pen of Noreen Tyers of Perth

My Barbra Ann Scott Doll –Noreen Tyers

Greetings From Ruffy on Groundhog Day Noreen Tyers

That Smell Of The Lanark County SAP Being Processed — Noreen Tyers

Adventures at Dalhousie Lake at the Duncan’s Cottages — Noreen Tyers

The old Sheepskin Slippers Noreen Tyers

Hocus Pocus —Untangling The Sutherland Sisters

Hocus Pocus —Untangling The Sutherland Sisters

I have always called these gals ” The Sanderson Sisters” because of my love of the film Hocus Pocus, but in reality they were the Sutherland Sisters.

In the late 19th century, though, the most startling, erotic thing you could do as a stage performer is let down your Rapunzel-esque floor-length hair. In fact, according to their biographer, the first real celebrity models in the United States were known as the Seven Sutherland Sisters, who had 37 feet of hair among them. Sarah, Victoria, Isabella, Grace, Naomi, Dora, and Mary Sutherland sang and played instruments—but no one really cared about that. No, the crowd came to ogle their magical, mythical, uber-feminine hair.

Flaunting all that awesome hair onstage wasn’t quite enough to launch the Sutherlands from abject poverty to riches, so the sisters’ father, the Rev. Fletcher Sutherland, concocted a patent hair-growing tonic. Because Victorian women coveted the sister’s luscious locks, the cash came flooding in. The family grew rich beyond its wildest imaginations, as the sisters knocked serious political issues off the newspapers’ front page with their outrageous celebrity antics. By the mid-1880s, none of the sisters could walk down the street, their flowing tresses dragging behind them like dress trains, without being mobbed by starstruck fans.

The famous Sutherland Sisters Mansion. Located on Ridge Road. Built in 1892, it was destroyed in a fire in 1938.
Cambria, New York

In 1893, the seven, now world-famous, returned home determined to live together, erecting a tremendous mansion in rural Cambria, New York, where their family’s log cabin once stood

There’s a new house, a modest modern one, where once stood the mansion of the Seven Sutherland Sisters. The showplace of the countryside, built on the Ridge Rd. northwest of Lockport, in 1893 with the hair tonic dollars of the Seven Sisters “with the longest hair in the world,” burned to the ground early on the evening of Jan. 24, 1938. Only two of the sisters were living then. Seven years before the fire, Grace and Mary had been forced to leave the farm on which Sutherlands had lived for 122 years. Their fortunes had gone into a tailspin, the hair tonic million had long been spent and for four poverty-pinched years, the last two sisters lived drably in the mansion where once all seven had lived so grandly.

The house had risen in all its Victorian elegance in the heyday of the Seven Sisters’ fame and wealth. They spared no expense when they built the ornate wooden pile on the family acres they called “Sutherland Farm.” It was the talk of the fruit country, that house with its 14 rooms, its term bedrooms, one for each sister; its seven hallways, its marble bathrooms with running water, novelty at the rime; its black walnut woodwork, its inlaid hardwood floors, its massive chandeliers and its three furnaces.

A life-size portrait of the Seven Sisters, in color and in all the splendor of their trailing tresses, adorned the wall of the higb-ceilinged living room. Once the roomy third story attic was crammed with Saratoga trunks, containing bottles of the hair grower. Expressmen at Lockport dreaded the sight of those trunks. They were inordinately heavy. In the old days there were spacious lawns and barns and stables for the numerous Sutherland pets. The main barn, unpainted for years, is still there. The stately oak trees which once shaded the front lawn are gone, victims of the fire. Gone too is the summer bouse where once the sisters, scantily clad and with their great masses of hair piled high upon their heads under towels, sunned themselves.

No trace is left of the cinder path where once the sisters rode their high-wheeled bicycles in bathing suits to the dismay of some of their prissy neighbors. This was Sutherland mansion on Ridge Road north west of Lockport where sisters “with the longest hair in the world” lived. It burned in 1938. their pets were buried, each in its casket with its individual name plate and each in a marked grave, long since yielded to the plow. Others tend the gardens where once the sisters flitted about, each wearing a cloth mask to protect features and treasured locks from the sun.

One by one the sisters passed on until only two were left. Naomi died in 1893 and Victoria in 1902 when the golden tide was running high. Isabella went in 1914, when the family fortunes were beginning to slump. Dora ran the Canadian business and kept the hair tonic sales going in Alberta until the bobbed hair craze which swept the States hit the prairies, too. She was killed in an automobile accident in Winnipeg in 1919. But she had her eccentricities among them 17 pet cats.

After her death the house was mostly unoccupied for eight years. Henry Bailey, and his children spent some summers there. In 1927 Grace and Mary retutned to the mansion, living only in the upstairs rooms. They were old ladies and there was that same year Sara died still with the famous locks at 73. Their tresses had lost their value and neighbours called her “the sensible one.” There was no gold in the family. She was the family balance wheel. Old neighbours recall the pitiful circumstances of the two sisters in their last stay in the big house. Mary was ill. She had “strange notions” and there were bars at the windows of her room. Sometimes there wasn’t enough to eat but Grace was proud and still held her head high and told her neighbours she wanted no gifts of food.

In 1932 the place was sold to the Cecil Carpenters of Lockport, who were restoring it to much of its oldtime elegance when fire leveled it. Mary lived until 1939. Some of her last days were in a sanitarium, some in the Niagara County Infirmary. Grace died in Buffalo in 1946. She was well over 90, the last of a fabulous sisterhood, which lives on in the lore of the fruit country. One afternoon when the apple blossoms were shedding their fragrance on the air, Clarence O. Lewis of Lockport, Niagara County historian, who has collected a mass of data on the Seven Sisters, drove out to Mike Gorman’s place on the McClew Rd. in the town of Newfane. Michael Gorman and his wife are getting along in years but their memories of the sisters were still alive.

They lived on a farm diagonally across the road from the Sutherlands. In those days Sara was the only permanent occupant of the residence. Grace and Mary, who “lived around” in Lockport and Buffalo, were there occasionally. The wheel of fortune was no longer spinning for the family but they tried to keep up appearances. Gorman was hired sometimes by Sara to drive the family carriage, usually to meet trains when one of the clan came home for a visit. He remembers when big Dora landed one day at Lockport wearing a muskrat coat so heavy it was hard for him to lift her.

Mrs. Gorman sometimes helped out at the mansion, especially when Sara had guests or there was one of the family’s extraordinary funerals. She well remembers the nearly two weeks that young Fletcher Bailey was laid out in the house before his aunts would bury him.The house was full of cats. Sara knew every one by name. One day a Gorman son caught one of them in a trap he had set for rats. The animal was so badly hurt it had to be shot. Mike told the boy to bury it and say nothing, hoping Sara It was a vain hope. The next week a newspaper advertisement appeared, offering a reward for the return of the missing pet. Sara was grief-stricken when a favorite horse was burned to death in a Lockport Mery stable fire. The animal was 15 years old and had been raised on the farm from a colt. Its carcass was identified by the gold-plated shoes it wore. So Sara had the horse’s remains hauled home. A carpenter made a casket and the animal was buried ceremoniously in the pet cemetery. – Mike Gorman still has one of those horseshoes but most of the gold plating has rubbed off.

There is an undocumented tale that a pet dog belonging to a Sutherland sister had its own bed and that at the head of the bed was a bell which the animal rang when he wanted attention. But there’s no fiction about the seven dolls. Each belonged to a particular sister and the hair of each doll came from the head of its owner. The dolls stood nearly 3 feet high. The seven dolls went with the Seven Sisters on tour and were part of the hair tonic sales ballyhoo. The maids who combed the seven magnificent heads of human hair also had to look after the seven dolls. The doll which had been Sara’s is now owned by Mrs. Thomas Buckley of North Tonawanda, the Gorman’s daughter. Sara gave it to Mrs. Gorman before she died. For all their almost incredible eccentricities, the Seven Sutherland Sisters are revealed as a warm-hearted, impulsive, open-handed lot. Shyness may have accounted in part for their clannishness. They loved their own so much they were loath to commit their bodies to the earth. They loved their pets in life and honored them in death. They made a fortune and they spent it grandly. They held their heads high to the last. They were colorful and different and will be remembered forever.

The Buffalo Times
Buffalo, New York
14 Jul 1918, Sun  •  Page 19
Calgary Herald
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
29 Jun 1918, Sat  •  Page 16

Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
10 Feb 1889, Sun  •  Page 16

Chicago Tribune

Chicago, Illinois16 Aug 1908, Sun  •  Page 34

A sibling for sale: Historic Four Sisters house on the market

Nellie Thurston –Balloonist Maiden Voyage in McFarlane Grove

  1. Women in Peril– Betrayed by Heartless Scoundrels 1882
  2. Dead by Her Mother’s Lack of Faith–Odd StoriesSearching for the Red-Headed Wench of Carleton Place

Have you Heard About Nellie Bly?

Nothing But Lizzie Borden

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

Things Borrowed from my Grandmother — Human Hair Nets

Things Borrowed from my Grandmother — Human Hair Nets

Things Borrowed from my Grandmother — Human Hair Nets

The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Apr 1923, Sat  •  Page 23

Hair nets were made either from combings collected from men’s plaits by local barbers or from whole plaits which flooded the market in the years around the revolution of 1911. … With the advent of nylon the global demand for human hair nets plummeted.

I used to borrow two things from my grandmother- Her hairnets and her tie up shoes with cuban heels in mesmerising brown !!! I wore those shoes until they died and wore her hairnets as a snood. She just shook her head LOL

In the late 19th century fashionable ladies in Europe began to replace their silk hair nets with hair nets that were hand-knotted out of human hair. Initially these were made by poor women and children in the rural villages of Alsace and Bohemia but production later spread to the Shantung province of China which became the most important centre of hair net manufacture, employing as many as 500,000 workers. By the early 1920s the human hair net had become an item of mass consumption, with American women consuming over 180 million nets in the year 1921-22. The appeal of the human hair net was that it was invisible, blending with or adding subtle highlights to a woman’s own hair.


What is interesting is that wherever they were produced the nets were made exclusively from Chinese hair – much of it collected up from men’s combings. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries most Chinese men wore their hair shaved at the front and in a long plait or ‘pigtail’ at the back in a style which had been imposed by the ruling Manchu dynasty two and a half centuries earlier under penalty of death. When itinerant barbers tended to these pigtails, they saved the combings many of which ended up recycled into hairnets for the Western market. ‘No other hair possesses the right degree of coarseness and resilience to give that peculiar elastic spring to the mesh that a good hairnet requires’ argued the Textile Mercury in 1912, suggesting that the hair of the northern blonde races was too fine and soft, the hair of Italians and Spaniards a little more suitable owing to its coarser texture, the hair of the Japanese too stiff and the hair of yaks inadequate.

However when the bob became a fashionable hair style in Europe and America the hair net industry in China suffered a severe blow. Attempts were made to revive it with some success in the 1930s and 1940s when double mesh hair nets became popular. Using two rather than one hair at a time these nets were longer lasting and some of them were designed specifically for bobbed hair styles. But soon this fragile and ephemeral artefact, which had always been valued largely for its invisibility, had disappeared from European and American heads, replaced in many cases by nylon alternatives. Emma Tarlo

Did you know?

Ena Sharples, a character in the UK soap opera Coronation Street between 1960 and 1980, was famous for wearing a hairnet;  the original hairnet was brought in by the character’s actress, Violet Carson, to stop the make-up women from altering her hair.

Food service workers often wear it to prevent hair from contaminating the food, even though there has never been any scientific or anecdotal evidence that hair poses any health hazard. The man who started the trend of hairnets for food service workers admittedly lied about the dangers of hair in food, and his hairnet manufacturing company profited greatly from the propaganda and new regulations.

Hairnets are part of normal attire for female horse riders, and are worn in most equestrian disciplines, including dressage, eventing, show jumping, and hunting. Organizations such as the Pony Club encourage their young members to become accustomed to wearing hairnets when around horses, not only to ensure a neat and elegant appearance, but also to eliminate any danger of scalping, should the rider fall off and the horse tread on loose hair.

Ballet dancers typically wear one at the crown of the head covered in a fine hairnet.

Chattanooga Daily Times
Chattanooga, Tennessee
11 Feb 1923, Sun  •  Page 11

Additional reading..

How Many Times Should You Bathe?

Being a Tombstone Tourist

Know Your Travelling Salesmen!- Professor Dorenwend

Searching for A Good Hair Day — Linda Knight Seccaspina

The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Should Girls Speak to Strange Men in Uniform? 1917

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

To Die Dying Your Hair

Why Were These Folks Facing Backwards?

Scrapbook Clippings of Wampole

The Sears Roebuck Nursery Chair

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

As the Carleton Place Barber Pole Spins

Whose Barbershop Chair was This?

Victorian Surgery — Beware of Content Ahead!!! Seriously!

Searching for A Good Hair Day — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Searching for A Good Hair Day — Linda Knight Seccaspina

As I look in the mirror at my hairstyle today it should be labeled as: ‘I tried’. It feels like anything that happens today is going to be held together by a hair scrunchie. I have come to realize in my golden years that you can’t control everything, and your hair was put on your head to remind you of that.

For as long as I remember I have watched my elders throughout the years spare no expense to keep those wisps and odd bits of hair neat and tidy. I was born with straight hair that had a will of its own and my Grandmother attempted to thwart that will every chance she got. Mary Knight came from a lifetime of bad hair days. She lost a lot of her hair entrusting it to the old professional salon hair dryers of the day that overheated and did not have timers. From that day on she invested in the acrylic fibers of the Eva Gabor Wig Company and wore her wigs crooked over her thinning hair until the day she died.

Not wanting her granddaughter to suffer the same fate my hair was constantly chopped into a bob with badly cut bangs. I have a few old black and white photos of such badly cut hair that the old Tressy dolls found in the bottom of a toy box looked better coiffed. From the hand cut bobs my hair follicles progressed to pin curls, and then to the almighty home permanent. There was no talking to my stylist, Mary Louise Deller Knight. She would adjust her wig from side to side in frustration while she wrapped an old plastic tablecloth around me.

The smell of a Toni Perm still haunts me like it was yesterday. Just seeing the little plastic squeeze bottle coming towards me still gives me nightmares. Did you know there were actually rules and instructions for those perms? My family knew their own version all by heart, as it had been handed down by word of mouth through many generations. I don’t think I can ever forget the words: “Let me know when it starts burning!”

When the timer dinged and the perm was over, the towels were taken out to be boiled in hot water because they smelled. The lingering scent almost rivalled Vick’s Vapor Rub– on the top ten most hated list. Half way through being almost blinded by the smell of rotten eggs and vinegar, Grammy Knight went outside to shake her wig. It seems that her Eva Gabor wig wasn’t that comfy when she was stressed out. I had figured that she was probably reliving her days of bad perms while she gave me one.

The year 1961 finally nipped the perm in the bud. When the movie “The Parent Trap” came out, I went to the Lido Hair Salon in Cowansville with a picture of Hayley Mills’s pixie cut and said, “Do this!” I was finally sick of feeling like Rapunzel caught in the tower with a head full of fuzz. Hear no perm, speak no perm, and see no perm–evermore I thought to myself.

In the 60s and 70s the brush rollers neatly covered with a scarf came into vogue. In every supermarket of the era women were seen with see through scarfs to protect their ‘doos’ from the elements and also showing off their expertise in hair styling at the same time. To be seen living in hair curlers meant the locals knew you were going to be doing something fancy soon. No mention was ever made about the ugly sleepless nights you had laying on those tiny torture devices. Beauty is pain, right? Eventually the rollers and yourself were able to come to some sort of mutal arrangement during the night, and maybe , just maybe, you were able to doze off.

Of course there were other hair fashion goals of ironing my hair and sleeping in empty Orange Juice can curlers I had made. Seeing my hair was dead straight I have no idea what I was trying to prove, but the added Noxema slathered on my face at night always just completed the look and set my enthusiasm high.

Through the years I went through hair crimpers, hot curling irons that I still have scars from and hair colours from every colour of the rainbow. Maybe the solution was just to ignore everything about your hair and realize there was always lipstick and clevage.

So now when I wake up and have that flippy thing going on with my hair I just remember that all those princesses from Disney gave me an unrealistic expectation about my hair. So now I know that a heartfelt smile triumphs over any bad hair day and actually I now have a ton of obscene gestures for that morning mirror.

Flour Shampoo

Flour Shampoo

 - Montreal River Miner and Iron County Republican
Hurley, Wisconsin
18 Dec 1900, Tue  •  Page 2

Rye flour shampoo:

  • 1-2-3 tbsp fine grounded light rye flour (depending on your lengths of hair)
  • Mix with water until you have a slightly running paste (some say it works better for them if the paste is really running, I find it easier if it is not too thin)
  • Wash out thoroughly and if you like use an apple vinegar rinse too.
  • If you hair feels still dry, try and use a tiny tiny bit of coconut or argan oil to rub into your hair ends. Too much will make your hair look greasy straight away, and I can only use it the evening before I wash my hair, because else I look like I have really fatty hair. But for people with thicker hair it works great.
  • If you are in a rush and can’t wash your hair, you can mix starch with unsweetened cocoa powder plus a tiny bit of cinnamon to make your own dry shampoo.


  • Don’t make rye flour shampoo in advance. It will become kind of a stinky sour dough something. I tried it once accidentally when I made too much and kept if a few days for the next wash, it was not really fancy 😀


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By the early 1900s, several hair care changes were afoot. Bathing had become an essential aspect of personal hygiene, and shampoos and cleansers for the hair became more common.

During the Victorian Era, thousands of doctors were hitting the streets, proclaiming the health-benefits of bathing to the world. The Victorians were famously fascinated with new, industrialized products and health fads. Washing hair with lye was still common, but a challenger appeared on the scene in the form of the humble egg. Now, about once a month (as was the recommended amount), women would crack eggs over their heads, work the gooey egg up into a lather in their hair, and then rinse it off.


The history of the famous Breck Girl shampoo ads, plus 25 iconic ...


Finally, in 1930, in Springfield Massachusetts, Dr. John H. Breck founded Breck Shampoo. It was because of his clever advertising campaign that commercial shampoo began to be used as the hair-washing product. Breck ran ads in Woman’s Home CompanionSeventeen, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamor, and even Vogue, under the slogan “every woman is different”, claiming to create a personalized shampoo that would result in beautiful hair, every single time. By the 1950s, his shampoo was available nearly everywhere. The campaign remained popular until the 1970s, creating a cultural expectation of frequent hair-washing.




The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Should Girls Speak to Strange Men in Uniform? 1917

Why Were These Folks Facing Backwards?

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

To Die Dying Your Hair

An Almonte Waterfall Turned Into Wool

An Almonte Waterfall Turned Into Wool

Here is a funny little bit which appeared in the Almonte Gazette in the year 1860, but sad to say that newspaper no longer exists. While a young lady, in the employ of Messrs. B. & W. Rosamond Co. and who attends to a carding-machine in one of their mills, was about her duties one day last week she had occasion to place her head under the revolving cards and her chignon, which must have been located at the “height of fashion.” coming to rather close proximity therewith, was snatched from the head of the fair owner and carded up in an unmerciful manner! We have no doubt the “boss carder” considered it a poor substitute for wool.



The Windsor Star
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
25 Jan 1908, Sat  •  Page 1





Ottawa Daily Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
01 Apr 1897, Thu  •  Page 8




The Stack Perm or the Disco Wedge ? 1970s Hair Fashion

Why Were These Folks Facing Backwards?

The Best Little Chin Hair Post on the Prairie

Lois Lyman–A Hair of a Blunder!

To Die Dying Your Hair

When Comments Turn into Climax Chairs and Donkeys — Samuel Pountney Genealogy

The Almonte Ladies Barber

The Toni Perm

The Toni Perm


Screenshot 2018-07-04 at 19.jpg

Sherbrooke Record Cowansville 1959


My Grandmother reluctantly began wearing Eva Gabor wigs at the age of 52. Her hair had been badly burned at the hands of a 1940’s salon perm, and her thinning hair failed to cover her bald spots as the year went by. Hence, a different style of Eva graced Mary’s head every few days. But, even with all her hair issues it never stopped her from inflicting Toni home perms on me. There was no talking to my stylist, Grammy Mary Louise Deller Knight. She would adjust her wig from side to side in frustration while she wrapped an old plastic tablecloth around me.

The smell of a Toni Perm still haunts me like it was yesterday. Just seeing the little plastic squeeze bottle coming towards me still gives me nightmares. Did you know there were actually rules and instructions for those perms? My family knew their own version all by heart, as it had been handed down by word of mouth through many generations. I don’t think I can ever forget the words: “Let me know when it starts burning!”

When the timer dinged and the perm was over, the towels were taken out to be boiled in hot water because they smelled. The lingering scent almost rivaled Vick’s Vapor Rub– on the top ten most hated list. Half way through being almost blinded by the smell of rotten eggs and vinegar, Grammy Knight went outside to shake her wig. It seems that her Eva Gabor wig wasn’t that comfy when she was stressed out. I had figured that she was probably reliving her bad perm while she gave me one. I found the word “catastrophe” a perfect description for those constant home perms I was subjected to and her Eva Gabor wig.



In 1961 finally nipped the perm in the bud. When the movie “The Parent Trap” came out, I went to the hairdresser with a picture of Hayley Mills’ pixie cut and said, “Do this!” I was finally sick of feeling like Rapunzel caught in the tower with a head full of fuzz. Hear no perm, speak no perm, and see no perm–evermore!

When I got the Hayley Mills cut I was interrogated by the Lido Hair Salon’s many patrons and hairdressers. They were horrified, it was so short, so I just pretended to be Audrey Hepburn, from “The Nun’s Story,” for the next few months.

Even today I still can’t talk about perms–but worse yet was my grandmother’s constant desire to trim my bangs after. I always ended up  with badly cut bad bangs that were taped down with Scotch Tape with the sweet tang of hairspray in the air. Some say that permanents came a long way in the 50s and 60s, but I would politely like to disagree on that fact. The only thing we got better at was running like the wind when we smelled a whiff of what was coming our way.