Oster Airjet Hair Dryer – 1949
Throwback Thursday takes us to the splendid year of 1949 and the Oster Airjet Hair Dryer model 202. Before the development of the hair dryer, it was common practice for both men and women alike to dry their hair with a vacuum cleaner. Unsurprisingly, the original hair dryer was modeled after the vacuum cleaner in 1890 by French inventor Alexander Godefroy. By 1915, the handheld hair dryer became readily available to the public. As with most machines, modern technology has improved the hair dryer throughout the ages.
In 1924 John Oster introduced a hand-operated hair clipper, with the intent of trimming and styling women’s hair. Mr. Oster established the John Oster Manufacturing Company in the garage of his home in Racine, Wisconsin. His technological breakthrough with the hand- operated hair clipper was the opportunity Oster needed to establish himself as a powerhouse in grooming accessories. Soon after, Oster released a motor driven hair clipper that revolutionized the household salon industry. Continued ingenuity from The Oster Manufacturing Co. allowed the brand to thrive. In 1946 the company expanded from barber apparatuses to incorporate basic electrical appliances. Oster’s growth brought forth new lines of products including the invention of the liquefier blender which turned into the “Osterizer Blender”. This continued advancement allowed Oster to market more specialized kitchen appliances for tasks such as chopping, pureeing and grinding. The transition from barber tools to kitchen apparatuses seems peculiar, but with technological ingenuity of the Oster Manufacturing Company, it is not surprising both ventures were successful.
This Oster Airjet hair dryer is an example of the imagination which made Oster a successful company. In May, 1949, the 202 model was brought into production, signifying a return to the business’s roots. This machine is a wonderful hair dryer in superb vintage condition. In addition to the dryer itself, the original box, and the Oster Guarantee paperwork are still complete. The head of the hair dryer is made entirely of chrome, while the handle is plastic. Atop the machine is an inscription which reads the model number (202) and the serial number (223516A). In addition, it is indicated that this is a 440 watt appliance. This piece is one of the many items on display within the barbershop at The Gateway Museum: A Village of Progress. For more information on The Gateway Museum please Click Here.