BY Farida Dawkins, 4:27am March 22, 2018,

[Women’s History Month] Meet Theora Stephens, inventor of the refined curling iron

Stock photo

March is the Women’s History Month celebrated globally to highlight the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. The month corresponds with the International Women’s Day which is marked globally on March 8.

As part of Face2Face Africa’s commitment to informing and connecting black people around the world, we have resolved to devote each day of the month of March to celebrate black women inventors and to highlight their inventions.

The use of curling irons is dated back to 2,000 BC. The process of curling the hair into “the marcel wave” was formulated by the French hairstylist Francois Marcel Woelfflè.

U.S. patent 806386 for a curling iron was published in 1905 under the name Marcel Grateau and the second for a hair-waving iron was published in 1918 under the name of Francois Marcel. There is speculation that Grateau and Marcel are the same people.

In 1980 or 1983, Theora Stephens developed a proficient pressing and curling iron. There isn’t much information available for Stephens except that she is an American hairdresser.

We honor Theora Stephens’s contributions.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: March 22, 2018


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