Wyo4News Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]
ROCK SPRINGS, WY — The Rock Springs Historical Museum is starting 2023 with a “New Year, New You” as their public display, showing now through the end of March in the Fire Station bay windows located on Broadway Street. “New Year, New You” is a fun display featuring a recently donated collection of vintage salon hair dryer chairs, carts and tables, an electric permanent wave machine and all the extra tools of the trade. Illuminated and available for the public to view 24 hours a day, “New Year, New You” brings back memories of a time gone by.
The centerpiece of the display is the Duplex Model X permanent wave machine manufactured by Eugene, Ltd. This electric perm machine is from the 1930’s and used a combination of borax-soaked cloth pads and rollers held with metal clips charged with electricity to curl the client’s hair. When the hair was done an oxidizing agent was applied to set the wave in the hair. The results when an electric perm was done well were fantastic, but when it wasn’t ladies could be left with frizzy curls and a raw scalp! By the mid-1940 the electric permanent wave machine was all but done, cold-wave perm kits were available and could even be done at home.
Also on display are pink Rayette “Beehive” style hair drying chairs and Bonat salon chairs and tables from the 1950’s. Hood hair dryers, a dryer that covered a person’s whole head and could move hot air evenly all around really took off in the mid 1940’s. Rows of hair drying chairs were a fundamental part of hair salon’s from the 1950’s on and allowed women to relax, visit, and get a perfect hairdo. This particular model is very powerful and is still able to whip a person hair up on end when its running!
All the furniture was, until recently, located at Team Cutters Styling Salon in downtown Rock Springs. Owners Shelly McCrea and Carla Sutter wanted the vintage pieces, and their history, to stay locally. According to Sutter the electric permanent machine and pink hair-drying chairs originally belonged to local long-time salon owner Valentina “Tena” Yugovich Lenzi. Born in Rock Springs in 1913 Mrs. Lenzi was a graduate of the Rock Springs High School with the class of 1930. She married Henry Lenzi in 1939 and by the late 1950s was operating Tena’s Beauty Shop out of her home on Tisdale Street. Mrs. Lenzi continued to work on her clients for more than 50 years, continuing to do shampoo sets, perms, and haircuts on her longtime clients well into her 90s.
Located in the historic City Hall building at 201 B Street in downtown Rock Springs. The Museum staff invites residents and visitors alike to stop by and satisfy their love of history any time they are in downtown Rock Springs.