Invention of the Hair dryer

June 9, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

The first model hairdryer was created by Alexandre F. Godefoy in 1890 in his salon in France. Some of the other blow dryers were actually purpose made boxes that sat on a table.


I could not find any commentary on this photo, only is known to be a late 1800′s hairdryer.

The hair dryer was patterned after the vacuum cleaner and as a marketing gimmick, some vacuum cleaners had attachments that could be used to dry your hair. Hand held dryers were introduced by the US Racine Universal Motor Company (Wisconsin), and the Hamilton Beach Co. in 1920 . Most of the electric motor business left Racine in the 1960′s.


This is a 1920 Hamilton Beach Hairdryer, they were built like tanks and believe it or not this one is said to still work. (you can see it at

In 1922 a small enough electric motor was developed so the dryer could be hand held. This was added to a hairdryer and it then became very popular. Over the next 40 years improvements in heat level, speed and weight made hairdryers even better to use.


figure 1: This early electric fan-driven hairdryer was used by middle class families and could be found in Germany cir.1925. This photo is taken from the Science Museum.


figure 2: This blow dryer is from the mid 40′s and has a wooden handle with a cloth cord. It is marked “Kwik Way Mfg.”


figure 3: This blow dryer is pink with a wooden handle and is made by Kenmore. It is thought to be somewhere in the 1940′s-1950′s range.


figure 4: This is a vintage electric 1960′s Bettina Universal hair dryer in an ostrich skin suitcase. The heating unit is attached to the carrier and blows hot air through the hose into the plastic cap.

So you see how far we’ve come from boxes on tables to cordless hair dryers. I got to tell you that I am far more likely to use the hand held with or without the cord but definitely without the box! Till next time Good Luck,