Miss Olivia, the 1870’s bride at Wildwood Historic Center may have used such a device. It looks a bit like a scissors. The curling or waving end would be heated in a lamp chimney and then hair would be placed between the rods and the back to create waves on either side of the head. She would have to test the heat with damp fingers. If the rods were too hot her hair would be frizzy and not smell the best. Tragedy on her wedding day! The rest of a woman’s long hair would be pulled up into a bun at the top back of her head.
In 1866 Hiram Maxim received a patent for a hair curling iron. In 1895 one could be ordered from the Montgomery Ward catalog for .20 cents. Sears Roebuck had a better deal in 1897 asking .12 cents.