Hairstyles have been an important part of fashion since the earliest civilizations. Six thousand years ago primitive versions of curling irons heated over open fires were used in Egypt, Persia and China. The first patent for the tool was acquired by Hiram Maxim in 1866. The device was refined and rereleased by Marcel Grateau in 1890. It finally went electric in 1959, greatly reducing the chances of burning off strands while styling. You can see old versions of the curling iron in the notes. Or check out the evolution of the hairdryer here. –– Laura Martin
Top: A replica of a nineteenth century model.
Bottom: Curling tongs from the victorian period.
From tong to wand, modern curling tools are clipless, making them easier to maneuver.