Art Eyelashes and Eye Winkers: 1903-1907


Latest Device of a London Hair Specialist.

“Art eyelashes” are the latest invention of a hair specialist in Great Castle street, London, says the Chicago Inter Ocean.

Before noon the other day six ladies with downcast eyes emerged from the specialist’s establishment. They had long silken eyelashes. A newspaper man who entered the shop gleaned some interesting information. On the counter were cardboard boxes containing countless cards. On each card was a delicate set of lashes attached to a scarcely visible strip of fish skin.

A small bottle containing a “skin fluid,” patented in America, and two cards complete the outfit. The eyelashes are 2s. 6d. per pair for “society wear” and 1s. 6d. per pair for theatrical wear.

“On our customer’s first visit,” said the manager, “we fix the skin on the eyelid with the fluid, and the false lashes mix with the lashes of the lady. It is beautiful, beautiful!”

The lashes last ten days usually, but twenty with care. The manager declared that he 2s 6d. pairs were proof against even a prolonged fit of hysterics, but he admitted, of course, that he had no direct evidence to that effect.

The theatrical lashes are black and very long and made of coarser material. The hairs are of vegetable origin and of every shade. They can be curled with the tongs when they become aggressively downcast.

Eyebrows at 10s 6d. per pair, lasting from three to six months, are another specialty at this shop, and into those sold to elderly ladies gray hairs are cunningly inserted. Jackson[MI] Citizen Patriot 18 July 1903: p. 14


In Season And At Moderate Price In London

They Don’t Last Long

London, Nov. 10. “Eyebrows and eyelashes are in season. They are cheap today!” Although the above notice is not actually displayed to the public gaze, it is literally true. A well-known ladies’ hairdresser in Oxford circus, who invest false eyebrows and eyelashes, is having his busy time just now. “Eyelashes are selling very well now the dark days have commenced,” he said. “They can be had in all shades, and only cost 60 cents a pair, which is cheap, considering their delicacy and fine workmanship. The hairs are sometimes human and sometimes those of the Angora cat or goat. Eyebrows are the most difficult things to make. The shape of the forehead has to be taken, and they are composed of camel’s hair on a fine, invisible skin. They cost $2.50. False eyebrows and eyelashes can only be worn two or three weeks, as the skin becomes dirty and the ‘deception’ apparent.” Repository [Canton, OH] 11 November 1906: p. 30


You Can Have Long Drooping, Silken Ones From Paris Glued On—Last a Season.

Chicago, June 15.

But if you cut no dashes,

Because you lack eyelashes,

False ones, made to fit,

Can be had.

The day is not far off when you will hear the vendor at your back door shouting:

“Eye winkers—eye lashes—cheap.”

They are being sold in Chicago today. Eye winkers for $15 to $20 a wink.

Think of it: Every time you winked your eye you would be winking $20.

Jules Crest, a State street hair dresser, is authority for the statement that when you see those long drooping silken eye lashes, don’t throw any fitlets, because they may not be all they seem. They may be false.

The motorists in Paris first used them to catch the dust. One year ago they came to Chicago and they came here to stay. They are only stuck on with glue!

“There is quite a demand for them by society people and actresses,” aid Mr. Crest. “They are glued on the eyelid so they never show. With care a good set will last a season or longer. They cost all the way from $15 to $20, according to the shade and quality of the hair. Philadelphia [PA] Inquirer 16 June 1907: p. 4A

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil is always interested in the vagaries of fashion and the lengths to which ladies will go to “beautify” themselves. She can find no other evidence that the first false lashes were created as dust-filters for automobilists, but it is an intriguing tale. “Eye-winkers” sounds a very “slangy” term, but was used in all seriousness as a synonym for “eye-lashes.” The base for the eye-lashes varied according to the practitioner: some used silk net, some fish-skin, some thread. Whatever the foundation to be glued among the lady’s own lashes, the procedure must surely have been more congenial than the following shuddersome technique, which would have required a true commitment to  suffering for one’s beauty.

The old system of sewing hairs through the eyelids is being superseded. By the old method a needle threaded with a hair pierced the outer edge of the eyelid where the natural eyelashes grow, the hair was drawn through and tied and the tied end cut off close to the eyelid, so that a row of these sewn-on hairs made a deep, dark line at the edge of the eyelids. The ends that formed the lashes themselves were always the points of hair and not clippings, and the hairs had to be most minutely and carefully adjusted, so that they bent well in line, curving and narrowing according to the pattern of a natural set of eyelashes. Whatever the sufferings of such a treatment, it was silently endured. Springfield [MA] Republican 13 March 1904: p. 15

beautiful eyelashes ad

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.


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