Item of the Week – “The Ordeal”

Some days the rarest gems emerge from the archives; today was one of those days.  A researcher was in, browsing through the Frank Keefer Photo Collection, and laughing he brought this photo to my attention:

Perm Machine.  Back of photo labeled
Perm Machine. Back of photo labeled “Wilma Reese”

Neither of us had ever seen a machine like this before but we assumed it was a perm machine.   After a quick and dirty google image search I found that this was indeed an image of an antique perm machine.

Keefer was a photographer for the Frederick News Post and I tracked the photo down in Newspaper Archive.  This photo ran in The News on May 31, 1957.  The photo was captioned:

“The Ordeal in 1924 – Thomas J. Kiriakou, local beautician, shows equipment used when he gave his first permanent wave here in 1924.  Sitting as a model is Miss Wilma Reese, this city.  The ordeal took about eight hours.”

So what do you think?  I personally would not let that machine within ten feet of my hair.


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