Figure 1--This American boy in an undated photograph (circa 1885) taken in New York City sports slender, long ringlet curls carefully on the boy's lace collar.
Mothers who curled their sons hair chose many varied diameters for the ringlets. Sometimes this was a decission necesitated by the thickness of the boy's hair. In other instances it was more of a styling decission, a function of individual mother's preferences. . Some ringlets were quite narrow while some boys wore rather thick ringlets. I know of no actual fashion trends in curl thickness, or contemporary fashion authorities advising mothers. It is not a subject on which HBC has been able to find much information.
The thickness of the curls varied from boy to boy. They looked to have been curled at about 1 centimeters in diameter. The thickness seem to have been related to the number of curls rolled. A few available images suggest thicker ringlets, perhaps as much as 1.5 centimeters.
Based on the images I have seen, moderately thick curls seems to have been more common that the thicker or slender diameter style. This was determined in par by the thicjness of the boy's hair as well as the number of ringlets desired. Perhaps mothers were more interested in having a large number curls than very thick curls. This is a topic that HBC has not yet investigated in detail. It may well have been that contemporary generals did not discuss issues such as thickness of boys curls in detail. The care of girl's hair may have been discussed in more detail and mothers simply used the information available on girls' hair styling for their sons. Perhaps the discussion was couched in terms of children's hair styles.
Some boys appear with very slender-diameter curls. This would be ringlets under about 1 cm in diameter. This may have been the boys with hair that was not very thick or mothers that wanted a greater number of ringlets. HBC has noted, however, that some boys with these slender-diameters ringlets had only a few and not a large number of ringlets. HBC notes that many of these slender diameter riglets were observered in the 1880s and early 1990s, but became less common in the late 1990s.
Figure 2.--Classifying these ringlets by thickness, is a bit complicated. This boy's ringlets seem of medium thickness if not a liitle thicker than average.
Medium length curls were curls of about 1 cm in diameter, a little more than a half inch. HBC's initial assessment is that these medium diameter curls were the most common. This is, however, only an initial assessment. This rquires a more careful assessment before drawing any definitive conclusions. HBC is not sure how many ringlets boys with medium thickness might have.
Ringlets reaching 1.5 cm look much thicker than the ones generally seen. Ringlets of this thickness, however, seem relatively rare. We have noted fewer portraits with these thick ringlets than with the slender and mdium thick ringlets. We are not sure at this time why this was. HBC is not sure how many ringlets boys with medium thickness might have. The thickness of course limits how many ringlets can be formed. As a result boys with these thicvk ringlets have a very small number of them. We also ten to note these thick styles more commonly after the turn of the 20th centiry than in the 1880s or revern the 1890s.
HBC has no information at this time on any relationship between the thickness of ringlets and specific clothing styles.
HBC has no information at this time on any relationship between the thickness of ringlets over time.
HBC has no information at this time on any relationship between the thickness of ringlets in different countries.
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