In more recent times the fashion for nail care and colour goes back to the 1800’s when shorter slightly pointed almond shaped nails were the fashion with some people also using a scented red oil buffed into the nails with a chamois cloth. Prior to 1830 metal tools, scissors and even acid (yikes!) were used to Manicure nails but a European foot doctor called Stitts, developed the orange wood stick which was an adaptation of a dental tool.
1842 in China Empress Dowager Cixi wore her natural nails extremely long as a status symbol.
1892 Dr Stitts niece brings manicure to women, and the Sitts method reaches the United States. Salons spread and cater to women of different incomes.
1900 Women use metal scissors and files to care for their their nails. Tinted creams or powders are available and are massaged into the nails to create shine. A glossy nail varnish is on the market, it is applied with a camel-hair brush, but it doesn’t have any longevity and wears off in a day.
1904 The Barber Supply Association of America, which becomes the Barber and Beauty Supply Institute in 1921, holds its first convention at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, at which, manufacturers and distributors meet and develop business relationships.
1910 ‘Flowery Manicure Products’ is established in New York City. The company manufactures metal nail files. they invent and introduce the ’emery board’ – a garnet abrasive on a wood centre.
1913 example of an early nail polish.
1914 Anna Kindred of North Dakota files a patent for a fingernails shield, a covering to protect nails from discolouring while the wearer works with chemicals or other discolouring agents.
1917 “Don’t cut the cuticle!” warns a November ‘Vogue’ advertisement. “Instead”, suggests Dr W G Korony of Louisville, Kentucky, “employ the Simplex Method of Home Manicuring – requires no tools.” The Simplex Sample Manicuring Outfit includes “Cuticle Remover, Nail Polish, Nail Enamel, Nail Whitener, Orange Stick, Emery Board and a Booklet of Home Manicuring Lessons.”
Until the 1930s, polishing powders were the main preparations used to shine the nail plate. They came in many forms – sticks, blocks, pastes, loose powder and even liquids – but all contained fine abrasives that were combined with buffing to make the nail plate shine.
An example of and early multi use paste which was used to dress the nails, “as an enamel” but check out the other uses!