Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Comb. The shape of the comb is probably suggested by that of the backbone and projecting ribs of the fish, which was probably the first tool which supplemented the primitive use of the fingers in dressing the hair. Combs were used by the ancient Assyrians and Egyptians, those of the latter being of wood and toothed on one side only. The Greek combs were toothed on both sides and made of boxwood from the shores of the Euxine. In shape they resembled the modern fine-tooth comb. Ivory combs were also used both in Egypt and in Greece. Valuable combs ornamented with jewels are preserved from Byzantine and mediaeval times. Many of them are in the treasuries of Continental churches, and were intended for use by the priests before saying mass. High "back combs" have at times been an important feature in feminine attire. They reached their highest altitude some sixty years ago in France, when the towering back hair surmounted by a high ornamented comb was known as the peigne a la giraffe. Modern combs are made of boxwood, tortoiseshell (or rather turtleshell from the Pacific), horn, ivory; the guttapercha comb (made in a mould) was invented by Goodyear, an American, about 1850; more recently combs have also been moulded from celluloid (q.v.).