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Victorain Hair Recycling

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Posted on : 6:26 PM | By : Nic | In : ,


I am in the middle of going through all my bookmarks (I've got about 1500) and I came across all of my Victorian history links. The Victorian era fascinates me a little bit - it was sort of a contradiction. They had all kinds of crazy ideas about medicine and health and the world that were so off, and yet they made so many industrial strides. Actually I don't really respect the era very much except for the homemaking values perhaps. We were talking about how uncomfortable that time was - couches were not very padded, beds were supported by rope and got saggy, they wore corsets and they didn't have adequate heating and barely had plumbing. It was just not.... comfy.

But one thing I do respect was the level of recycling that was happening. Even though the industrial revolution would soon create disposable replacements for everything, they were still using everything to the last possible molecule. The picture above is a piece of jewelry woven out of human hair. When I clean out my hairbrush, I have longish hair and I end up with a big wad of hair that I toss into the toilet. But the Victorians... they put their hair into a special pot called a receiver and used it to make their hair puffy and to make fancy jewelry like the earrings above. Nowadays we would think that's a little gross. But back then it was an art form.

All those little plastic bits that I can't recycle - I really don't have an excuse. I just don't have that mentality of patience for a project using any material, even if that material came from my own head, lol.

Comments (3)

That is pretty gross, but interesting!

My grandmother and her sisters all had long hair and would collect the combings in a purpose-made (bought) conical "bin", maybe ten inches high, which would hang from the dressing table mirror. The hair would then go to wig makers. That was in the 1960s.

I wonder if those earrings were made for strangers or as a love gift, like the lock of hair for a locket. Still, gross, but why do we react this way to human hair?

OMG... Please don't toss your hair in the toilet! That's going to make a nasty clog sooner or later. If you don't want to throw it in the trash, maybe collect it over the winter and then leave it out for the birds in the spring. They like to line their nests with that stuff. Or throw it in the compost pile maybe, if you have one.

I actually don't think of hair as gross. Dunno why. I'd love to learn how to make something like those earrings. But then, I am weird. :P