The hand-held hair dryer is a not such a recent invention.

The earliest models were on the market in the US in 1915 but had an unfortunate habit of either overheating and burning out, or electrocuting people. Metal, weighing in at two kilos and only being able to deliver 100w of power (instead of today’s 2000w) meant that beauty really was painful.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s when more high-grade, heat resistant plastics were in use and all the safety bugs were eliminated that the hand-held blow dryer became an item in every household.

Until then, we had hair rollers.

Plastic rollers, foam rollers, velco rollers –seemed like there was a new ingenious invention on the market every week with a variety of clips, fastenings and storage methods.

Young women planning on a glamourous Saturday night out would wash their hair in the morning and spend the day in rollers. Or if it was necessary, sleep in them overnight. Passion killers for sure!

Of course the most clever techno-beauties invested in a portable dryer!


Why, you could do the housework with one of these babies slung over your shoulder.

And they came in three gorgeous girlie colours – baby pink, baby blue or cream. A real fashion accessory.

Heated rollers saw the demise of the portable dryer, but with old-fashioned rollers making something of a comeback (they really do give the best, long-lasting curls) it’s time to get into Grandma’s attic and fetch out the portable dryer.

Keeps your hands free for texting!











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  • Reply October 25, 2012

    Wendy Harmer

    I remember my aunts getting around the place with portable hair dryers.They’d come over for a visit on a Saturday afternoon and plug them in while they sat and yakked. I just bet there’s one still in a box somewhere in shed. Must get it out, they’re selling them on eBay I see.
    BTW was startled on a recent visit to Liverpool to see women in their 30s down the main street on Saturday morning with their hair in rollers!

  • Reply November 7, 2012


    OMG – we had one of these – It was so good – I use to feel so special sitting in the lounge or my bedroon drying my hair. I have often thought about it over the years and wished we still had it. But mum threw it out years ago and got a more modern one.

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