Hairstyling Combs Made By Bald Guys?
It was the 1960’s and big hair was in. Women took great pains to “rat” their hair into large, loose haystacks on top of their heads. Then they doused them with hair spray to maintain the shape. About the same time, Dick and Roland Young opened shop at a new location on 42nd St. North, just outside Grand Forks. In those days, the company was called Young Tool & Die Works. As always, they were looking for new work.
Imagine their surprise when a potential customer showed up at their door and asked if they could make hairstyling combs. A rather ironic request since both Dick and Roland were both dealing with a severe shortage of hair by this time. In fact, because what hair he had left was short-cropped, Dick did not even carry a comb.
After the initial shock at the request passed, the answer came quickly – “Sorry. We can’t make combs here.” The visiting entrepreneur replied, “A friend of mine said you could.” That was the wrong thing to say to a couple of guys who thrived on challenge! Dick replied along the lines of “If someone said we could make them, then we probably can. Let’s take a look at what you need.” They accepted the job with no real idea of how they would make the product.
The combs were made of aluminum, and the design was unique in that it had a two-pronged fork for “lifting” the hair on the handle end. The teeth were of different lengths with eleven “spike” tines evenly spaced on the comb for “teasing” the hair. The remaining tines were shorter and closer together as a normal comb might have. To create variety the combs were anodized in different colors. Most of them were sold under the name “Style-Her.” though some were labeled “Dar-La.”
Each comb went through eleven processes from start to finish. As you read through the list of operations, I am sure the question comes to mind: Why were there so many operations? Well, in those days things were different. “Stage” tooling (moving the part from one die to the next) was used almost exclusively due to equipment limitations and because many parts were made from sketches and samples. CAD programs were not available, and draftsmen were hard to find and too expensive for a small shop. Most dies were designed “on the fly” with no blueprints to refer when creating the die components. Occasionally, parts were not fully engineered and needed further testing. Though adjustments could be made easily in “stage” tooling, progressive and compound dies will lock the toolmaker into a design with little room for even simple modifications.