Great Female Inventors
Marjorie Joyner

Marjorie Joyner

Marjorie JoynerOn October 24, 1896, Marjorie Stewart was born Monterey, Virginia, the granddaughter of a slave and a slave-owner. At the age of 16 Marjorie moved to Chicago, Illinois to pursue a career in cosmetology. In 1916, Marjorie became the first Black woman to graduate from the A. B. Molar Beauty School. Following graduation, the 20 year old Marjorie married a podiatrist named Robert E. Joyner and she opened a beauty salon soon thereafter. Marjorie was introduced to Madam C. J. Walker, the well-known Black hair care products entrepreneur. At the height he fame Walker owned nearly 200 hair salons and serving many of the well-known Black figures of the time. When Madam Walker died in 1919, Marjorie was hired to oversee the Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Colleges as the National Supervisor.

During the 1920's, Black women had a real difficulty with their hair. If they wanted to straighten their tightly-curled hair they would have to use a stove-heated curling iron. In 1926, Joyner decided to make this process faster and easier and ultimately more efficient. One of the frustrating things with traditional curling irons was that only one could be used at a time. Marjorie envisioned arranging several curling irons above a woman's head, they could work in unison to straighten her hair all at once. Joyner remembered that “It all came to me in the kitchen when I was making a pot roast one day, looking at these long, thin rods that held the pot roast together and heated it up from the inside. I figured you could use them like hair rollers, then heat them up to cook a permanent curl into the hair.” Thus, she sought a solution to not only straighten but also provide a curl in a convenient manner.

Marjorie JoynerJoyner approached this solution by connecting 16 rods to one electric cord inside of a standard drying hood. A client would wear the hood for a specified period of time, resulting in hair that was now either straightened or curled. She began working on her invention in 1926 and after two years of trial and error she completed it. In 1928 she received a patent for her device which she called the "Permanent Waving Machine." Her device was enormously successful and performed even better than Marjorie thought. The curl that was added to the hair would end up lasting and staying in place for days. In contrast, a curl from a traditional single curling iron might last only one day. Joyner's success was not limited to Madam C. J. Walker's company (all of the proceeds of the device went to the company as the patents lay within the scope of her employment) but was extremely popular in white beauty salons as well as white patrons enjoyed a "permanent curl" as well.

Marjorie Joyner and Chicago Mayor Harold WashingtonWhile the device was quite popular, the procedure could prove to be rather painful, so Marjorie developed a "scalp protector" to make the experience more pleasant. Once again, Marjorie Joyner met with success. in 1945 Joyner co-founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association along with Mary Bethune McLeod, the noted educator. Marjorie contribute to contribute to the Black community by raising funds for Black colleges and even founded the Alpha Chi Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity . The organization for created to bring professional standards for beautician. Joyner was awarded a bachelor's degree in psychology from Bethune-Cookman college in 1973 at the ripe old age of 77. She died on December 7, 1994 having served as a role model and inspiration to generations of beauticians and inventors.


 

Female Inventors

     
 

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