Curious History

Curious History

History Of The Hair Dryer From 1890 To Present Day

The hair dryer is a staple in just about every household; we depend on our blow dryers on a daily basis to style our tresses. It’s hard to imagine life without a blow dryer but that’s exactly what many did for centuries. Prior to hair dryer men and women actually used the vacuum cleaner in order to dry their hair with the hose.


The hair dryer was invented by Alexander Godefroy in France in 1890 and was available for commercial sale in 1920. The very first blow dryer was a bonnet or hooded dryer which required you to sit down underneath it. The very first hooded dryer was connected to a gas stove or chimney pipe which provided the heat. The bonnet contained small openings which allows even airflow. Hooded dryers are still popular in many salons to this day.

The very first blow dryer was patented in America by Gabriel Kanzajian in 1911. Portable dryers were able for sale to the public at approximately 1915. The very first portable dryers were on the heavy side weighing on average two pounds and were rather challenging to operate. They were also quite dangerous with a few electrocution and overheating incidents. They also weren’t very efficient since these early driers had just 100 watts capacity, a big change from today’s modern dryers which have on average at least 1800 watts with some models providing over 2000 watts of heat. As a result hair drying took significantly longer in the early days.

Over time manufacturers were able to increase wattage and produce more lightweight dryers like the ergonomic Sedu hair dryer. During the 1960’s innovations in the plastic industry allowed companies to produce lighter dryers. The motor was also moved inside of the casing.

During the 1970’s innovations were made in safety; the Consumer Product Safety Commission established guidelines that commercial dryers had to follow. In 1991 U.S law required dryers to use a ground fault circuit interrupter in order to prevent electrocution in case  the person using it gets wet. As a result, dryer related electrocution deaths dropped from hundreds of incidents in the mid-twentieth century to less than four cases a year.

Today’s best hair dryers have come along with with innovative technology including tourmaline and ionic dryers with numerous heat and speed settings. Today’s  dryers can even dry hair from the inside out and reduce the amount of static in the hair and break down water molecules for faster drying times. The blow dryer has come a long way!

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