28 days of Black Inventions: Perm (Hair Relaxer)

28 days of Black Inventions

February 21th, 2017

Perm (Hair Relaxer)

As we normally do this time of year, we’re going to celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging 28 of the most influential, world changing inventions by Black People. Our goal is to shed light on some inventions that most people probably didn’t know about, some of the lessor known inventions as well some of the more notable inventions. So, join us on our 28-day journey and you might learn a thing or two.

Perm (Hair Relaxer)


Advertising for Mr. Morgan’s Hair Care Products.

Black Women all over the world might be all too familiar with this product/Invention. The Perm (Hair Relaxer) was made from curiosity in 1909, regarding a sewing machine. The way the needle caused friction to the fabric made the future Inventor all to curious. He (the Inventor, see below) began experimenting and developing many types of liquids but it wasn’t to his wife called him to dinner that things changed forever. Upon returning to his workshop he noticed the fabric on the cloth that he wiped his hands on were standing straight up. He began to experiment of the neighbor’s dog. Then finally himself, Eureka. The World’s first hair straightener/relaxer was born.

This concept was revolutionary for Black Women all over who wanted their hair to appear and look straight. This product was so successful Mr. Morgan formed a company and began manufacturing and selling the Garrett A. Morgan Hair Refining Company. The company was very successful and spearheaded Mr. Morgan into developing many other Products and Inventions. Including an updated version of the Straightening Comb & later the Gas Mask and the Traffic Signal.

Garrett A. Morgan

Garrett Morgan (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963)

Garrett Morgan (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963)


We’ve already written about him 2 other times before https://tellmehowilooknow.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/28-days-of-black-history-month-garrett-morgan/. https://tellmehowilooknow.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/28-days-of-black-inventions-for-black-history-month-gas-mask/ so it should come as no surprise that we highlight him once again. This time it’s for one of his lessor yet more popularly known Inventions. The Perm, yes Garrett Morgan was the Inventor of the Perm, it wasn’t Madam CJ Walker like most of us thought. Nevertheless, he turned himself into a big deal in the Black Women’s Hair Care Business. The Same Business that Made Annie Malone & CJ Walker Millionaires.

The Garrett A. Morgan Hair Refining Company was the start to an amazing career. His Hair Care products covered the full Spectrum. He had shampoo for your hair, oils to grow hair & even caps to put on your head after you beautified yourself. These are some of the processes that Women of today still use. No Black Woman (or any Woman for that matter since all Women get Perms) who just had a Perm put in her hair will go to bed at night without wrapping & covering their hair.

Editor’s Note:

So, ladies the next time you find yourself in need of a Perm or at the Beauty Parlor getting a Perm you know who to thank. #Thankyou







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