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Combs & Brushes

Combs and brushes have been used by cultures across the world from the Neolithic period to the present. Before 1800, most combs and brushes were made from organic materials, including broken seashells, tortoise shells, jagged stones, ivory, wood, and animal bones and hair.

In 1777, William Kent opened the first hairbrush factory in London, importing a wide variety of fine bristles from merchants across India and China. In 1854, Hugh Rock patented the first modern hair brush in the United States, and in 1898, Lyda A. Newman invented a synthetic hair brush with detachable handles and air chambers for ventilation. The addition of ventilation chambers was especially important because it allowed hair brushes to be used simultaneously with hair dryers to achieve increasingly complex and modern hair styles.

Most contemporary combs and hair brushes are made of plastic or a combination of plastic handles and nylon bristles. However, natural fibers continue to be prized for their delicacy and are still used to create high-end hair brushes.


Quick Facts

  • On June 6, 2015, the John Toomey Gallery sold a René Lalique hair comb with sea holly decoration made of horn, silver, gold, and glass for $205,500
  • Kent’s hairbrush factory, known today as Kent Brushes, made hundreds of thousands of brushes for English soldiers during the first World War
  • In addition to taming and styling locks, combs have also had the important historical role of removing lice from hair and beards

Recommended Items at Auction

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Vintage Comb and Hair Brush Set in Traveling Case with Sterling Silver Elements
Feb 29, 9:00 AM EST
Vintage Comb and Hair Brush Set in Traveling Case with Sterling Silver Elements
by Apple Tree Auction Center
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
COMBS & HAIR SUPPLIES
Feb 29, 12:00 PM CST
COMBS & HAIR SUPPLIES
by McCurley Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$22 Bids
Philippine tortoiseshell comb, 19th century
Feb 28, 4:30 PM CET
Philippine tortoiseshell comb, 19th century
by Templum Fine Art Auctions
Est: €400- €450
€1800 Bids
Celluloid, Gilt & Rhinestone Dresser Set
Mar 17, 12:00 PM EDT
Celluloid, Gilt & Rhinestone Dresser Set
by Main Auction Galleries
Est: $60- $120
$300 Bids
4-delige Engelse kapset met 2 borstels, kam en spi…
Feb 28, 7:00 PM CET
4-delige Engelse kapset met 2 borstels, kam en spi…
by Veilinghuis Van Spengen
Est: €100- €200
€500 Bids
15-delige Franse toiletset met 3 kristallen toilet…
Feb 28, 7:00 PM CET
15-delige Franse toiletset met 3 kristallen toilet…
by Veilinghuis Van Spengen
Est: €600- €800
€3000 Bids
Artifact, Rock, History, Collectible, Tool,
Feb 27, 6:00 PM CST
Artifact, Rock, History, Collectible, Tool,
by Easterly Auction Company
Est: $0- $0
$450 Bids
4pc Art Deco Bakelite Vanity Set with Colored Rhinestones
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
4pc Art Deco Bakelite Vanity Set with Colored Rhinestones
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$100 Bids
Ornate Group of Ladies Vanity Brushes and Mirrors
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Ornate Group of Ladies Vanity Brushes and Mirrors
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$100 Bids
Leather Bound Traveling Box
Feb 28, 5:00 PM EST
Leather Bound Traveling Box
by Absolute Auction Gallery
Est: $200- $300
$500 Bids
14pc of Ivory Tone Celluloid Vanity Items
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
14pc of Ivory Tone Celluloid Vanity Items
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$100 Bids
French 19th Century Assembled Guilloche Enamel Vanity Set
Feb 28, 1:00 PM EST
French 19th Century Assembled Guilloche Enamel Vanity Set
by Coral Gables Auction
Est: $700- $1,000
$3000 Bids
Brush Marked Charles Rayner
Feb 29, 10:00 AM EST
Brush Marked Charles Rayner
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$10 Bids
Silver Metal Peacock Comb
Mar 20, 9:00 PM EDT
Silver Metal Peacock Comb
by Weatherham Estate Treasures
Est: $40- $60
$250 Bids
Mid 20th Century Ladies Dressing Vanity Items
Mar 29, 10:00 AM EDT
Mid 20th Century Ladies Dressing Vanity Items
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $50- $1,000
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Combs & Brushes


Premier Auction Galleries

Premier Auction Galleries

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Main Auction Galleries

Main Auction Galleries

Apple Tree Auction Center

Apple Tree Auction Center