A while ago I bought Edwardian-style hairpins made of real horn.
I always wondered how ‘three or four pins’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2) should be enough to keep a pompadour hairstyle in position. But Edwardian hairpins usually were longer than ordinary wire hairpins. (Edwardian tortoise shell hair comb, and Edwardian seed pearl hair comb).
The women in these Edwardian photographs wear two horn or tortoise shell hairpins to keep their pompadour coiffures in place: ca. 1905 photograph, Edwardian portrait, 1912 portrait, and 1910s carte de visite.
The simplest hairpin ‘is made of wire bent in the form of a letter U, but hairpins are made also of ivory, bone, tortoise-shell, wood and metal, and of various shapes, often with ornamented heads or tops. It is a feminine assertion that a women can do more with a hair-pin than a man man can do with any one instrument in existence. She takes it to button her shoes’ and gloves, ‘to crimp her hair, to fasten her hat on […] to manicure her nails […] To clean her comb, and to cut the pasted label on her powder-box. She can use it as a paper-knife, or a book-mark; to open a letter […] to trim the lamp-wick, to mend her bracelet or her bustle, she handles it with a dexterous grace and a confident skill, born of inherited knowledge and educated by long practiced use. (A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods, 1892)
The white horn hair comb is carved. I used the hairpin for my Edwardian pompadour hairstyle.
Such horn hairpins really keep the hair better in place than ordinary hairpins so that less hairpins are necessary.
The lace in the background is my Edwardian princess slip.