Walter Sammons invented an improved version of the standard comb for enhanced hair straightening, and he received the patent for the heated comb to aid in removing kinks from hair. Sammons, from Philadelphia, received this patent, number 1,362,823, on Dec. 21, 1920. Sammons lived from 1890 until 1973.
Sammons was an African American inventor, and hot combs in the African American community presented controversy due the perceived conformity to Caucasian standards of beauty. Combs comprise some of the oldest tools that have been retrieved by archaeologists. Combs are believed to date back more than 5,000 years, as of 2014, and are believed to have originated in Persia.