Mechanical Hair-Brusher

I came across this description of a mechanical hair-brush published in Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Nov. 23, 1863. It operated by means of "an endless band of vulcanised india-rubber... that descends to within about a foot of your head and is made to revolve by machinery." Here's a description of it in action:

When I went in to get my hair thus brushed, had sat down before the glass, and been tucked in as usual, with bib and dressing-gown, the hair-dresser took up one of his circular brushes and hitched it to the revolving band over my head. In a moment I felt a silent fanning, as if some monstrous butterfly were hovering over me; this was the air of the twirling brush, which caught my hair up and laid it down, and traveled all over my head with incessant gentle penetration. It crept down my whiskers and searched my beard with the same tender and yet decided effect. There was no scratching, not even of the neck and ears, but the skin of cheeks and chin was reached and swept. It was a new sensation. I felt as if I should like to be brush continously for a month.

Evidently mechanical hair-brushes never caught on, because the only picture of one I could find was this:

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Mar 20, 2012
     Category: Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues | Inventions | Hair Styling

Bovine ecstasy. Maybe we're missing out on something.
Posted by Todd on 03/20/12 at 08:23 AM
It looks like those brushes in the automatic car wash. That bull certainly looks happy with it.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/20/12 at 08:31 AM
Never caught on with us, perhaps, but over 30,000 of the cow version have been sold (something to do with the fact that it apparently improves milk yields).

Actually, bringing up the cow-wash reminded me of a human equivalent I thought of including back then, but didn't because it wasn't really the same thing.

Introducing the Vitabrush!

And in digging around trying to find that, I've found a wonderful plus ca change moment. Here, from 1881, is a patented nostrum whose static electric charge is guaranteed to cure all head-related ills while simultaneously making your heair long and glossy, Dr. Scott's electric hair brush...
...advance 130 years of human achievement and we come to the Braun Satin Hair 7, with active ion technology. No claims of headache relief this time, just the same ol' hair conditioning.

So there you are, progress in a nutshell, we no longer let people claim hairbrushes can cure "brain fatigue" and migraines.
Posted by Dumbfounded on 03/20/12 at 09:25 AM
I've used my always-on-hand comb for all my life - five fingers. Unfortunately, I've had less need to use them over the last few years as my locks are starting to abandon ship.
Posted by KDP on 03/20/12 at 09:31 AM
@DF: Yup, contented cows do produce more, and richer, milk. Just ask Borden's Elsie if that ain't true.

The farmer I put some hours in with (way back when) also stated that if the cow wasn't depositing copious amounts of simi-liquid excrement all over the field, barn, and holding pen that she wasn't producing milk either. There seems to be a connection between milk and poo-poo.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/20/12 at 10:14 AM
I can see the headline-


Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/20/12 at 11:42 AM
It's udderly wonderful. No Bull!
Posted by Baughbe on 03/20/12 at 12:02 PM
That's a happy cow, no doubt about it. Holsteins can be ornery too, so I'm sure the dairy workers are glad to have the brushes around, as well.
Posted by Miles on 03/20/12 at 01:49 PM
It is a little known fact that in the days before the introduction of the automobile the predecessor of the modern car-wash was used to wash horses and cattle.;>P
Posted by tadchem on 03/20/12 at 02:24 PM
@Miles: How about an Ayrshire? Holsteins are black and white. NO?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/20/12 at 02:46 PM

Hadn't thought of that. With the "endless band of vulcanised india-rubber," I had more of the picture of an accident comparable to accidents with jacuzzi drains or escalators!

Re the cow-wash: On the next ranch over, they hang a rusty barrel on a rope and the cows scratch themselves against it. O'course, they're eatin' cows, not milkin' cows. Maybe don't have the same standards of happiness?
Posted by A Mindful Webworker on 03/20/12 at 04:18 PM
Some of my students with autism LOVE to get brushed on their head, hands, arms, legs, feet, back & tummy. It calms them down and puts them in a ready-to-pay attention mindset.
Posted by ScoutC on 03/20/12 at 07:57 PM
Autistic people do not tend to reach out physically, like initiating a hug, but they still need that contact. My sister never comes up and hugs us but is always very happy to be hugged. Human contact is a necessity for all of us. Its great you found something soothing to your studnts Scout.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/20/12 at 08:29 PM
@Expat: I hadn't meant to say that this cow was a Holstein, just that Holsteins are common dairy cows and can be ornery. I was born on a farm with Holsteins, but I'm a city-boy now and couldn't tell you what sort of cow is in the picture. I'll take your word for it.
Posted by Miles on 03/21/12 at 01:54 PM
I had to go a'lookin' myself. I worked with Holsteins, Swiss, and Jersey. The cow in the pix looked more like a holstein/swiss mix than anything else.

BTW, the "tame" ones were the Holsteins. Swiss were bad due to size but the Jersey was one mean b1tch!
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 03/21/12 at 02:46 PM
We had a HUGE bull named Lester that was a total sweetie (not sure what sort he was), but I was always warned not to expect the same from the Holsteins we had as milking cows.
Posted by Miles on 03/21/12 at 03:57 PM
I grew up on a grain farm, but we had milk cows. This post reminded of freshly picked berries and cream so thick it needed to be spooned on.
Posted by BMN on 03/21/12 at 04:24 PM
Jerseys are very pretty.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 03/21/12 at 04:58 PM
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