History of the Afro Comb
he way people look, through their hairstyle, influences the way they feel about themselves, the way people see them and address them.
Hair and grooming have always played an important role in the culture of Africa and the African Diaspora. The traditional African comb or pick has played a crucial role in the creation, maintenance, and decoration of hair-styles for both men and women.
Archaeological records that indicate that some variation of the Afro comb has been around for thousands of years. Studies show that the comb is around 6000 years old and originated in Africa before re-emerging in Britain, the Americas and the Caribbean.
In many African societies, the comb serves a s a status symbol. It can denote affiliation with certain groups or tribes and can signify one’s religious beliefs. Both in ancient times and modern, the handles of the combs are adorned with objects that artistically showcase a person’s status – figure heads, crowns, the fist.
The Black fist was introduced in 1969 by Samuel H. Bundles, Jr. and Henry M. Children Tulloch. It soared in popularity in early 1970’s when the afro itself started to take on more of a cultural and political meaning. The design was in reference to the Black power salute made popular by the Black Panther Party. In addition to its use as a styling tool, it was a way for many Black men and women to express their cultural pride. Another version of the afro comb, the folding comb, was introduced in 1970 and patented in 1971.