- Mason Pearson
The search for quintessential hairstyling tools ends with Mason Pearson. The eponymous engineer-inventor traveled from Yorkshire to London in the mid-1860s to work at the British Steam Brush Works, in a partnership later known as Raper, Pearson, and Gill. The business made small brushes entirely by hand. In 1885, Mason Pearson invented an automatic brush-boring machine to speed up the brushmaking process, an innovation that garnered him a silver medal at that year’s International Inventions Exhibition in London. It was also in 1885 that Pearson invented the “pneumatic” rubber-cushion hairbrush, a largely handcrafted product that he would spend the next two decades improving.
Upon Pearson’s death in 1904, his widow continued the business on for some 20 years, when the next generation was ready to take over. It was during this period that the decision was made to concentrate on Mason Pearson’s rubber-cushion hairbrush, designed to clean the hair and stimulate the scalp by increasing blood flow to the roots. Today’s Mason Pearson hairbrushes are similar to the original 1885 model with the improvements of the fully developed models of the early 1920s. The basic products retain many of the original model names, including Large Extra, Small Extra, Popular, and Junior. The London-based company is also known for its handmade combs and badger-bristle shave brushes.