Evelyn Washburn was a native of Gouverneur and in 1906 attended the Wanamaker Beauty School. She was an accomplished pianist and would entertain guests in many homes in Gouverneur and around the area. She was a member of the Daughters of the American Republic and St. James church. She died in 1937 after suffering a stroke and then a short stay in Hepburn hospital in Ogdensburg where she died at age 56.
Visit Evelyn's cemetery monument in the Old St.James cemetery.
So... about that wicked looking permanent wave machine...It will literally "curl your hair." An African American hairdresser named Marjorie Joyner (1896–1994) invented this permanent wave machine to straighten very curly hair and curl very straight hair. She registered the patent in 1927. (U.S. pat. #1,693,515) The machine is dome-shaped and used electric current to heat the hair that was clamped in sections on rods. She got the idea for rods from a pot roast cooker. Marjorie Joyner was the first African American woman to receive a patent and was the Director of Chicago's Madam CJ Walker Beauty Schools. Unfortunately, Marjorie Joyner never profited from the permanent wave machine because her boss, Madam Walker, owned the rights.
Originally, the machine had clips that hung from above and heated hair up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Dampened hair would then steam and curl as it was heated.. Unfortunately, this process left the hair stiff and brittle and both the customer and the beautician ran the risk of serious burns. Thankfully the process improved enough over the next 20 years and these machines became standard in many beauty shops. Even more thankfully, the machine became obsolete when Karl Nessler invented a chemical process for curling hair.