Hair Clippers

The hair clipper was the first electrical haircare appliance designed for use by men rather than women. Leo J. Wahl invented the first practical electric hair clipper in 1919 and set up the Wahl Clipper Corporation in Sterling, Illinois. The hair clipper basically consists of an electrically driven blade with a comb guide, and the design has changed little since its introduction. Today’s hair clippers are supplied with a range of combs for different trimming grades and are also available as cordless models with rechargeable batteries.

See also
Hair dryers; Hair Stylers

S. W. Farber, Inc.

The S.W. Farber company was established in 1900 when S.W. Farber, a tinsmith, set up a shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The initial products were copper and brass bowls and vases. In 1910, the company introduced Farberware, the line of kitchenware for which it is best known, with chrome and silver-plated table accessories. It produced kitchenware, pots, and pans in the 1920s and moved into the appliance field in 1930 when it developed the first Farberware coffee percolator. Farber improved this with the Coffee Robot coffeemaker of 1937 that could keep coffee warm long after it had brewed. The Broiler Robot, which followed in 1938, was advertised as “the first broiler that could cook at the dinner table.”

Farberware stainless steel and aluminum pans were introduced in 1949 after the company had moved away from wartime demands and invested in stainless steel production. It produced the first stainless steel electric frying pan in 1954. Sold to the multinational Hanson Industries in 1987, it is now a part of Salton Inc. and continues to produce coffeemakers, juicers, and waffle makers.

See also

Early Kodak Cameras

The Kodak brand name made its debut in 1888 to launch Eastman’s first camera. The Kodak box camera, priced at $25, was marketed with the slogan “You push the button, we do the rest” and came preloaded with a 100-exposure roll of stripping film. The completed film was returned inside the camera to Eastman Kodak for processing and reloading at a cost of $10. In 1889, the company was reconstituted as the Eastman Company and introduced a celluloid roll film, the first commercial transparent roll film. The first daylight-loading film and camera followed in 1891.

As business flourished in 1891, the company opened new factories in Rochester and in Harrow, near London, where it had established a British office in 1885. It was renamed the Eastman Kodak Company in 1892 and opened a separate camera factory in Rochester in 1893. The Pocket Kodak camera of 1895 brought a new feature, the exposure window, while the 1898 folding pocket Kodak camera established the 2.25-in-by-3.25-in negative as standard. Eastman Kodak began the twentieth century by creating a mass market for snapshot photography with the launch of the No. 1 Brownie box camera. Designed by Frank Brownell and made from wood and cardboard, the No. 1 Brownie cost just $1, with 6-frame roll films priced at 15 cents each. In 1908, the company brought out the world’s first commercial cellulose acetate film, described as safety film to distinguish it from highly flammable cellulose nitrate film. Eastman Kodak continued to expand its U.S. and overseas operations in the years prior to World War I. An Australian subsidiary was added to its British and French ones, and a research laboratory and new headquarters opened in Rochester.

Morphy Richards

The British company Morphy Richards was founded in 1936 as a manufacturer of electric irons. It soon became a successful manufacturer of a range of small electrical appliances, such as kettles, toasters, and hair dryers. Its success has been based on the functional design, affordability, and reliability of its products. While not notable as a world innovator, the company has been responsible for introducing new technical advances to the British market. Examples of this include steam irons and pop-up toasters. The Morphy Richards streamlined toaster of 1956 was one of the most popular British models, coming in either a chrome or a yellow enameled body. Its PA75 model, also available in chrome or yellow enamel, was equally successful. Morphy Richards expanded into consumer electronics in 1982, launching into the portable radio and audio market. It became part of the Glen Dimplex Group in 1985. In the 1990s, sales benefited from the introduction of matching lines of small appliances in deep colors. Today, Morphy Richards is the leading British manufacturer of small electrical appliances and has market shares of about 33 percent for kettles and 25 percent for toasters. The audio division has grown to include telecommunications products.

See also
Blenders/Juicers; Frying Pans; Glen Dimplex; Hair dryers; Irons; Kettles; Sandwich Toasters;
Toasters; Trouser Presses.

Motors, Electric

One of the principal trends underlying the development of many domestic appliances throughout the twentieth century has been the application of instant energy, which has improved their performance. For many appliances, this energy source has been electricity. The first essential factor in this development was the slow but steady spread of an efficient and cost-effective electricity supply in Europe, Canada, and the United States beginning in the 1880s. The second key factor was the development of a small and efficient electric motor.

The first electric motor was built by the Englishman Michael Faraday in 1831 and consisted of a copper disk rotating between the poles of a powerful magnet. Faraday did not exploit his discovery industrially. Further work was carried out by Faraday’s fellow countryman James Clerk Maxwell, but the first real commercial model was developed by the Croatian-born, U.S.-based Nicola Tesla in 1889. Working with the Westinghouse Company his 1/6 horsepower motor was used to drive a three-bladed domestic

Eastman Plates and Film

Eastman became a keen amateur photographer while he was employed as a junior clerk at the Rochester Savings Bank, in New York State. Through reading British photographic magazines, he learned about a new dry gelatin emulsion coating for photographic plates and began to work on his own formula. After experimenting for three years, Eastman patented his dry gelatin photographic plate in 1879 and an emulsion-coating machine for making them. In 1880, he leased premises and began to manufacture dry gelatin plates. A year later, he founded the Eastman Dry Plate Company in partnership with Henry A. Strong. By 1883, the company needed larger premises and moved to a four-story building. It was reconstituted as the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company, a corporation with $200,000 stock held by fourteen shareholders, in 1884.

While dry gelatin plates were much easier to use than their wet collodion predecessors, Eastman was still not satisfied because glass plates were a heavy burden for the field photographer. His goal was to find a lighter and more flexible support than glass. In 1884, he brought out Eastman Negative Paper on rolls and a roll-holder attachment. However, the resulting images were inferior to those from glass plates, as the grain of the paper was visible. The next development was Eastman American Film, described as a transparent “stripping” film. Introduced in 1885, it was a paper strip coated with two layers of gelatin. The base layer of gelatin masked the paper grain and, after processing, the paper backing was stripped away.