It is essential to take a quick look at the history of hairdryer manufacture to understand how they are made today and why they are made with particular features.
The very first hairdryer made in 1925 produced only 100 watts of heat and must have taken some time to dry the hair. It was made from heavy materials, steel and zinc weighing in at nearly a kilogram. Slow progression meant that over the following 20 years heat output increased to 300 watts and another nearly 20 years went by before coming up with 500 watts of power.
Adding on another 10 years and we find ourselves in the 70’s and looking at the safety aspects as there had been literally hundreds of accidents caused by electric shocks from hairdryers so in came safety standards. The Consumer Products Safety Commission came up with the guidelines for hairdryer manufacturers to create safer products in the late 70’s.
Now hairdryers come with a special shock safeguard, a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFCI). Hairdryers are designed to weigh a comfortable 500 grams and have many other safety mechanisms including insulation, safety fuse, and automatic over heating cut-off.
The raw materials include, motor, fan, copper wire, switches plus a few other electrical components such as safety fuse.
- The process begins with pre-assembly of the fan blades with electric motor already inside.
- The alloy nichrome (nickel and chromium) can withstand heat and does not rust.
- The insulating board is made of mica as it can withstand high levels of heat. Two flat pieces of mica board a few inches long are connected in an X shape. The notches in this X shape mica have the nichrome wire wrapped around.
- At the end of the wire it is connected to the circuit for the power supply.
- These can produce up to 2,000 watts of power in the form of heat energy.
- The body of the hairdryer is made up in two halves of plastic made by injection moulding. (Injection moulding being the process of injecting hot molten polypropylene into a stainless steel die).
- Cold water around it cools it down, the two halves are already with the holes for drawing in cold air.
- Also the various compartments are there ready for the electrical components to fit neatly inside.
- The inside components are fitted in, the switch is in the handle, the electric motor and fan in the central part with the longer barrel part housing the heating element.
- Next to the motor is where the cool air comes in, it has a fine mesh screen to prevent any foreign objects getting inside, some are now made with a removable filter making it easy to clean.
- For your protection there is also another protective screen, so nothing can get in and get burnt and it will protect your dryer as well.
- The bimetal (2 metals) strip works by having two different expansion times when heated up so is it will flip the switch and cut the power if it overheats, this will fit neatly inside the housing.
- Another safety feature will fit inside and it is a thermal fuse, it will melt and cut the power instantly, preventing both overheating and fire.
- The GCFI, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter is built in; it can detect any leaks or short circuiting.
- All the components are placed on an assembly line using both automation and manual labour.
- Although the two halves are screwed together they use far less screws than older dryers as they fit together so neatly making it an easier process and lighter product.
- All dryer cords have a label attached stating clearly that the appliance should be kept away from water.
- The final result is a neat product, maybe with its own little case and it is boxed with a safety and instruction manual ready for shipping.
It is difficult to know how much more technology can advance when it comes to hairdryers unless your name happens to be Albert Einstein.
Perhaps the designs will just be funkier and more attractive, maybe little gift sets, all ceramic and shiny and new.
It is still early days for ceramic and tourmaline (used in the ionic design) so time will tell if this is well received by consumers. Perhaps we will find we really like the new even heat produced by ceramic hairdryers and the feel good factor of negative ionization, let’s be content for now, let’s wait and see.
Although I wouldn’t mind betting that consumers start to demand a fully installed hair dryer a bit like a hand dryer which swivels around for easier hair drying and styling, well, how about it manufacturer’s? Not so sure but if you plan to buy one I recommend you check out the site in the link that offers a wide range of hair dryer reviews.
As always, be smart before you buy!