Sunday, February 6, 2011

Black History Month Spotlight: Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr.

In honor of Black History Month, I figured I'd post about black inventors who have contributed and advances black hair care. The first being of course Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr., inventor of the hair relaxer (March 4, 1877 - August 27, 1963)

The first hair relaxer was invented by Garret Augustus Morgan, Sr., who was born in 1877 in Paris, Kentucky. At a young age, Morgan, the child of former slaves, excelled in school and always had an eye for inventions. Like many African-American children, though, he ended his formal education after elementary school to work on the family farm. Eventually, he left Kentucky and headed for Cincinnati, working and getting assistance from a tutor to continue his studies in English grammar.

While working in a sewing machine repair shop attempting to invent a new lubricating liquid for the machine needle, it is widely believed that Morgan wiped his hands on a wool cloth, returned the next day, found the woolly texture of the cloth had “smoothed out”, and set out to find how the liquid chemical had changed the texture as it had. He experimented on an Airedale dog, known for their curly textured hair, and the effect was successfully duplicated. Morgan then tried his lubricating liquid invention on himself, called it a “hair refining cream”, and thus patented the first chemical hair straightener. He founded a personal grooming products company which included hair dying ointments, curved-tooth pressing combs, shampoo, hair pressing gloss, and the one that started it all: the “G.A. Morgan's Hair Refiner Cream” (advertised to “Positively Straighten Hair in 15 Minutes”).

In 1913, Morgan founded the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. The company's premiere hair relaxer product, G.A. Morgan's Hair Refiner, was based on the alkaline chemicals used to straighten hair in his home workshop. This singular product spawned other hair-care products, such as dying ointments and other hair processing creams. He even created the curved-tooth pressing comb. Because most soap used in the early 20th century contained lye, the mixture of alkaline chemicals and lye had to be washed and combed out completely to prevent hair damage

Morgan's other and more prominent inventions are the three position traffic signal and the safety hood (much like the modern day gas mask). His unintentional discovery has paved the way for thousands of entrepreneurs, stylists, and hair enthusiasts alike.


[Source 1] [Source 2]

With smiles,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the lesson. I was familiar with him from the traffic light but I had no idea about the hair relaxer.

    ReplyDelete

Let's talk healthy hair.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...