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Know your history: Who was Lyda Newman?

Blumseed Team - Sep 20 2020

Lydia Newman 

was born in Ohio circa 1885, was an African-American inventor and women's rights activist. A hairdresser by trade, she received a patent for an improved model of hairbrush in 1898.

Newman's hairbrush could be taken apart easily for cleaning due a compartment at the bottom that could be removed from the back and be cleaned.[8][9][10] The U.S. Patent 614,335[11] was filed on July 11, 1898 and granted on November 15, 1898.

The hairbrush she invented is described in her patent as "simple and durable in construction" and being "very effective when in use". The invention was designed to promote ventilation and provide storage for excess hair or impurities.

Her version of the hairbrush included synthetic bristles, as well as an air chamber in an effort to reduce static and further straighten hair. Her synthetic bristles made the brush much more durable and easier to clean.

Synthetic lasted longer, was stronger and wouldn’t break as easily, and could also withstand water much better. The synthetic made it easier to manipulate the placement of the bristles, so she was able to move them further apart to simplify cleaning. The addition of rowed bristles also allowed for debris to be removed from the hair and put into a recessed compartment.

At the touch of a button, the debris compartment could be accessed for easy cleaning. Another feature that she added to simplify the cleaning process was that she made the bristles detachable. This allowed hairdressers to save time in between clients and be more hygienic.

Due to her contributions, more women were able to afford a hairbrush.