Exhibition Taster: Morphy Richards Hairdryer Ensemble

When the Electric Generations exhibition opens, we’ll have a number of electrical items on display that we’ve collected or borrowed from various places.  This 1960s Morphy Richards ensemble hairdryer is a taster of the type of objects that visitors will be able to see.  Tracked down on eBay, it’s still in full working order — although we haven’t been brave enough to actually try it ourselves and it’s probably best that you don’t test it out at the exhibition, either!

This style of hairdryer was extremely popular in the 1960s and was regularly advertised in the pages of women’s magazines. Usually produced in pink, blue or white, there were a number of variations. In the advertisement below from Woman’s Way, we see a busy housewife multi-tasking.  With the unit slung over her shoulder, she continues about her normal routine. What busy woman wouldn’t want to combine drying her hair with cooking for her family?!

Advertisement in Woman’s Way magazine, August 1965

You’ll note that the hairdryers in both images feature a hood attached to the actual hairdryer by a hose. The idea was to give salon-quality drying in the home. If you google hairdryer hood, you’ll discover that similar products are making something of a comeback these days! Just don’t leave them on too long — some women who used them in the 1960s and exceeded the recommended drying time found themselves with something akin to heatstroke!

Check back every second Monday for a new taster in the lead up to the opening of the Electric Generations exhibition.

Electric Generations: The Story of Electricity in the Irish Home will be at dlr LexIcon in Dún Laoghaire, Dublin from 2 October until 2 December 2017 and at the Irish World Heritage Centre in Manchester in spring 2018. Learn more about the Electric Generations team here.

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