1800- Almond shaped nails, short and slightly pointed, are the ideal. Nails are sometimes tinted with scented red oil and buffed with a chamois cloth.
1830- In Europe, a foot doctor named Sitts develops the orangewood stick, adapted from a dental tool, for nails. Before this invention, metal tools, acid and scissors were used to manicure nails.
1879- The trade magazine American Hairdresser is published in the U.S.
1892- Dr. Sitts' niece brings nail care to women, and the Sitts method reaches the U.S. Salons spread and cater to women of different incomes.
1900- Women clip their nails with metal scissors and file their nails with metal files. Tinted creams or powders are massaged into the nails to create shine. A glossy nail varnish is available and is applied with a camel-hair brush, but wears off in a day.
1904- The Barber Supply Dealers Association of America, which becomes the the Barber and Beauty Supply Institute in 1921, holds it's first convention at the World's Fair in St. Louis, Mo., at which manufacturers and distributors meet and develop business relationships.
1907- Fromm Industries is founded as Illinois Razor Strop Company.
1910- Flowery Manicure Products is established around 1910 in New York City. The company manufactures metal nail files and invents and introduces the emery board (garnet abrasive on a wood center).
Anne Kindred of North Dakota files a patent for a fingernail shield, a
covering for the nails designed to protect them from discoloring while
the wearer works with chemicals or other discoloring agents.
Wilde, the parent company of Light Concept Nails, is formed as a dental supply company.
1917- "Don't cut the cuticle!" warns a November 1917 Vogue ad. Instead, suggests Dr. W.G. Korony in Louisville, KY., "Employ the Simplex Method of Home Manicuring- requires no tools." The Simplex Sample Manicuring Outfit includes "Cuticle Remover, Nail Polish, Nail Enamel, Nail Whitener, Orange Stick, Emery Board, also Booklet of Home Manicuring Lessons.
Women buff their nails with cake, paste or powder. One formulation is Hyglo Nail Polish, claimed to be brilliant, lasting and waterproof.
Cutex is busy in the nail department, offering Cuticle Remover, Nail White, Nail Polish (in cake, paste, powder, liquid, or stick form; the color is pink), and Cuticle Comfort. A complete manicure set can be ordered for $.14.
For the New York woman disinclined to do her own nails at home, Miss Frederick at 500 Fifth Ave. "Specializes in Manicuring," according to Vogue Shoppers' & Buyers' Guide.
1918- Morris Flamingo, a supplier of beauty and barber products, opens for business as E. Morris Manufacturing Company in Detroit, manufacturing razor strops.
1920- Screen stars are known for a total look that is almost childlike, with short hair and slender figures. Nails are still unpolished, but soon the development of automobile paint provides the basis for fingernail paint.
1921- The National Hairdressers Assoc. (later to become the National Hairdressers & Cosmetologists Assoc., then the National Cosmetology Assoc.) is formed.
1922- Beauty Culture magazine is published in New York, N.Y.
1924- The Assoc. of Accredited Cosmetology Schools (AACS) is founded. It's a non-profit organization created to bring together all facets of the cosmetology industry, and to further education in cosmetology arts and sciences.
Nail Polish enters the market in a sheer rosy red shade and is applied
only to the center of the nail. The moon and the free edge are left
colorless. The mid-twenties and thirties are the age of what Beatrice
Kaye, manicurist at MGM, calls the "moon manicure." The cuticles are
cut, the free edges filed into points, and polish applied to the nail
but not to the moon. Sometimes the tip is left uncovered as well.
However etiquette books of the time warn women against painting their
nails with "garish colors."
Max Factor produces Max Factor's Supreme Nail Polish, a metal pot of beige-colored powder that's sprinkled on the nails and buffed with a chamois buffer. It gives nails shine and some tint.
1927- Max Factor introduces Society Nail Tint, a small porcelain pot containing rose colored cream. Applied to the nail and buffed, it gives a natural rose color. Society Nail White also hits the market. It's a tube of chalky white liquid that's applied under nail tips and left to dry. The end result resembles the modern French manicure. Max Factor also offers cuticle cream and cuticle remover.
1929- Polish with perfume is introduced, but it's popularity is short-lived.
Ladies of the silver screen bring polish into vogue. The overall look
is one of cool sophistication and elegant, immaculate grooming. The
moon manicure thrives in various tints of red.
Gena Laboratories premieres it's polish remover, Warm-O-Lotion, cuticle oil and cuticle remover.
1932- Charles Revson, with his brother and chemist Joseph Revson, and Charles Lachman, creates an opaque, non-streaking nail polished based on pigments rather than dyes, making a variety of colors available. Revlon is created; in the thirties, the company invents the fashion of matching lip and nail color.
Anna Hamburg of California is granted a patent for an artificial nail
colored and that can be applied and removed easily without damage to
the natural nail.
Maxwell Lappe, a dentist in Chicago, creates Nu Nails, an artificial fingernail for nail biters.
Max Factor's Liquid Nail Enamel is introduced and is similar to nail polishes of today. The company uses a limited number of pigments, which means it's enamel is available only in red, dark red, vermilion and crimson. The fashion is to cover the entire nail with polish.
1935- Eugene Rohrbach of New Jersey patents a nail covering that can be applied to the nail without glue. It is slipped over and under the nail's free edge.
1936- A finishing stencil, designed to be placed on top of the fingernail to ensure a consistent coat of polish, is patented by Stella O'Donnell of New York.
1937- A patent for a method using tips to repair and lengthen the nails is granted to Harriet Fligenbaum of Minnesota.
1938- Manicures cost from $.25 to $3.50, depending on whether or nor polish is applied. Base coat is created, which in turn leads to the entire nail being polished. Toenails receive attention, too- by 1938, they're getting a coat of polish along with the fingernails.
Rita Hayworth's long red nails bring new shape to nail fashions. Hers
are longer than previously worn, more oval than pointed, and fully
covered with red polish. The look is glamorous, that of a worldly
During the first half of the twentieth century, men who frequent barbershops often receive a manicure as well as a haircut, shave and shoeshine. For the women, there are bright colors such as Schoolhouse Red Nail Polish from Elizabeth Arden, $.75 a bottle. Clear polish brushed over and under nail enamel extends the life of the manicure.
Frank Nolon of New York patents an applique for nail designs. Other patents issued in 1940 include manicure shields, cuticle guards, and protective nail coverings. Manicure shields allow the manicurist to paint the clients nails while she sits under the hair dryer without the heat reaching the fingertips and ruining the manicure.
In the days before there were fiberglass or silk wraps, there were teabags, coffee filters, and Duco cement, says Beatrice Kaye. Donna Kohl of Boise, Idaho, a nail technician for 16 years, says cigarette and perm papers and airplane glue were used for wraps.
1942- The Charles G. Spilo Company offers hair products and small selection of nail products.
1943- The Long Beach Hairdressers' Guild holds it's first show.
M.A. Kraft patents a stand up easel with a hole cut in the bottom for
the clients hand. This allows the manicurist to work on the clients
hand, protected from the hair dryer's heat.
Max Factor offers Satin Smooth Nail Polish to consumers. An improvement upon it's earlier Liquid Nail Enamel, the polish is available in reds, pinks and other colors.
1947- Menda Scientific Products introduces it's babytime Dispenser for baby oil. By 1982, the company enters the beauty market, and obtains a patent on it's purity Protector acrylic liquid dispenser in 1986.
1948- Noreen Reho of Missouri creates a manicure apparatus that contains and supports the instruments used in manicuring.
Many more nail colors come on the scene and with them, a more delicate
looking nail. Nails go from pointed to oval and pale. Eyes are
emphasized, with perhaps less attention paid to lips and nails.
There's an explosion of nail polish colors, including Sunny Side Up, a cream red from Revlon. A box containing nail polish, lipstick and lip liner costs $1.60 plus tax, according to a Vogue ad.
In the fifties, the invention of aerosol hair spray is borrowed by the nail industry to create spray on nail polish dryers.
Juliette Marglen markets a wrap material resembling a match-book with the wrap material in sheets, says Beatrice Kaye. Only the top third of the nail is covered. Having the nails wrapped this way is referred to as a "Juliette" manicure.
Excelta Corp. begins importing tweezers and wire cutters for the
electronic assembly industry under the name Swiss Army Precision
Import's, later under the name Erem. The Danielle Division is formed in
1989 and introduces precision nippers, tweezers and implements for the
Thomas Slack is issued a patent for a "platform" that fits around the nail edge, designed to help manicurists apply extensions to the natural nail. Made of foil, it is used to apply the first acrylic for nails, called Patinail, which is manufactured in the fifties by the Slack family. The product is named after Patricia Still, who developed and demonstrated the technique in department stores.
1959- Max Factor's Nail Enamel is introduced.
The look for a nail is pale. Coral is the rage, but nearly every color
under the sun is used by somebody. False nails make their entrance, and
they are longer than ever. Silk and linen wraps are found to be
stronger than paper wraps. Manicures cost around $7 - $12.
Mona Nail, a Dallas Co., manufactures one of the early acrylic systems available for nails.
Melvco is founded by a professional manicurist who develops the company's Nail Magic, a nail strengthener and conditioner.
1962- WR Medical introduces it's Therabath and wintergreen Theraffin.
The age of the artificial nail. Acrylic nails look and feel real, but
are much stronger. The square nail evolves. The salon is the place to
get your nails made to order. By 1978, nails are very long and worn
mainly by the rich. Artificial nails that cover the entire nail bed are
available including the Eye-Lure Nails brand. These are inserted under
a lifted cuticle to make them look as if they grow out of the finger.
Glue holds them on but not for long-water dissolves the glue.
C.R. Manufacturing Company goes into business.
International Beauty Distributors is founded and starts with a diverse group of beauty products, including eyelashes, nail guards and wigs. In 1990 the company changes its name to International Beauty Design.
1971- SuperNail is founded and provides No Lite Gel, Stick It Nail Glue and Electra Nail.
Antoine de Paris opens for business, offering hair shears and cuticle nippers.
GG's Nails System is founded and starts with linen and fiberglass wraps.
1973- IBD develops the first adhesive especially for fingernails.
Wilde-Light Concept Nails develops an acrylester resin that is cured by UVA light. In 1985, the material is introduced to the European market as Light Concept Nails.
1974- IBD creates nail tips for professional nail technicians.
Lee Pharmaceuticals begins testing it's design for artificial fingernails.
1974 & 1975- The FDA seizes and recalls products containing methy methacrylate, a chemical considered to be hazardous, and forces manufactures to reformulate acrylics for the nail that are gentler.
The National Association of Nail Artists (NANA) is founded, and it's
first newsletter NANA News, is published. Phyllis Monier, one of the
founders, wanted to help salon clients realize that nails are just as
important as hair. The last issue of NANA News is published in 1983.
Orly international is founded, offering Orly Nail Paint, Romeo liquid fiber wrap and Ridgefiller primer base coat. The name "French Manicure" originates in 1978 when Orly introduces the first French manicure kit.
Pacific Airbrush starts making a line of paint.
Lee Pharmaceuticals introduces Lee Nails to the consumer market.
Supercuts is founded, making inexpensive haircuts available to salon patrons. The company franchises in 1979.
Square nails become fashionable around 76-77, probably due to nail
competitions- judges can easily critique a c- curve in a square nail.
Exceptionally long nails are accepted and popular. Nail tips are used
more and more, a relief to nail technicians who have difficulty
Arius Eckert Company opens it's doors, offering industrial shears and scissors.
No Lift Nails evolves from a skin care company established in 1964.
1977- Brucci Ltd. is established with a line of Nail Hardener Shades. Beatrice Kaye manufactures Soak 10 and a manicure owl, the first items in her line of MGM STUDIO 10 natural nail care products.
1978- Creative Nail Design offers it's first product, non yellowing Solarnail, a liquid and powder resin.
Hair Care Service Center is founded and by 1987, the company's name changes to Hair Care Nail Supplies and markets products to the nail technician.
Salon Interiors takes root when its founder begins to knock on salon doors selling furniture and equipment.
Sogo is founded with a small nail repair kit known as "Patch 5" and a liquid dispenser called "The Pump."
1979- Mehaz International brings manicure sets from Germany to the U.S.
Origi-Nails is founded, offering sculpturing systems and education.
Simply Elegant's roots lie in a beauty supply store that opens in 1979.
Soft Touch opens for business, manufacturing the first cushioned foamboard file, the cushioned Grinder.
Sogo introduces fiberglass to the nail industry.
Lee Pharmaceuticals offers Sculptured Nails in an acrylic powder and liquid form to the consumer market.
The eighties sees the use of nail drills (adapted from dental, hobby
and jewelry drills) become common when working with acrylic nails.
Fiberglass is the newest wrap system- light, strong & flexible.
Nail charms and gold nails begin to decorate some clients' hands, and
nail art worn by the Chinese as early as 5000 B.C., and much later by
the Gypsies- finally makes it's appearance in the U.S.
The trade newspaper Mainly Manicuring reaches salons in the eighties.
Alpha 9 offers acrylic powders, liquid and primers.
Beauty Supply San Francisco opens with six product lines.
Dina-Meri brings rollabouts and other salon furniture.
Set-N-Me-Free Aloe Vera Products strts business selling aloe based products to beauty salons nationwide.
Snails Italian Jewelry provides gold posted initial charms for the fingernail.
Tweezerman begins business, offering the slant eyebrow tweezer.
World International Nail and Beauty Association (WINBA) holds it's firat tradeshow for nails, as well as it's world championship competitions.
1981- Essie Cosmetics is founded and offers nail technicians 12 different nail colors.
OPI Products is established and develops 4 NP Powders and L-2000 Liquid especially for the nail industry.
Star Nail Products is born on Venice Beach, Calif. it's first nail products are Star Original acrylic, polish and cosmetics.
1982- Develop 10 begins business, offering nail color and treatments.
Finger Mates offers Formula 10 Nail Hardener.
Kimberly-Clark introduces Handsdown Nail Care Towels to the industry.
Tammy Taylor, a manicurist and salon owner, offers her own line of nail products, beginning with liquid, powder and primer.
1983- Heken Gourley is the first in her area to offer one of the new gel systems on the market. Her lamp, invented by James T. Giuliano, an expert in plastic researxh, also creates a process for making artificial eyes.
opens it's first ofices in Huntington Beach, Calif. and the first issue
is distributed at the Long Beach Hairdressers' Guild Show.
Odorless systems are availible.
Ladyfingers is one company offering it.
H & H Products opens, manufacturing emery boards. The first Nail and Skincare Array (NASA) Show is held.
TruNails is purchased by Gabel Holding Co.
1984- Backscratchers is started in a school environment.
Lasco Diamond Products offers drills to the nail industry.
NaturalGlass is begun, with fiberglass, adhesive and spray accelerator.
Nail Systems International (NSI) is formed.
Worldwide Cosmetics-Winning Nails opens shop with a variety of nail care supplies.
1985- A Show of Hands begins offering stripping tape, paints and rhinestones for nail art.
Nailco Salon Marketplace opens it's doors, providing more than 1000 manicuring items.
Digits International emphasizes reflexology.
Realys Inc. begins making abrasive implements.
Lee Pharmaceuticals introduces Lee Press-On Nails, which are applied with adhesive tabs.
All Information is taken from Nails Magazine, February 1993
The History of Nails by Annie Gordon