Hair styling has been around since ancient times - curling, dyeing, wigs and hair extensions were common in ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt. The methods of curling hair have not changed very much. Now we can heat curling tongs by electricity, but the principal is the same as that used by the ancient Greeks who heated tongs in an oven.
The tongs shown here are from the late Victorian period but the style had remained the same for hundreds of years. The tongues are two hinged pieces of iron, formed into handles at one end with narrow cylindrical blades at the other. The tongs were heated up over a flame and then sections of hair were curled around them. Each section of hair was folded first into a length of paper, called a curl-paper, to prevent the hair from scorching. In spite of this there are many tales of burnt and scorched hair as the heat of the tongs is hard to control and many women must have damaged their hair through this process.