Strange finds: human hair used in WWII Navy Instruments

Today while I was transcribing one of my Licking county ancestors’ obituaries, I noticed this strange, intriguing little piece of news a few columns over. A Maryland company had accepted a woman’s length of hair which had been cut 18 years before, and the company planned to use it in the manufacture of navy instruments.


“Accept Hair” from The Newark Advocate, page 11, published in Newark, Ohio on 14 December 1942

What in the world was the navy using human hair for?? A quick Google search brought up this article from the Defense Media Network which informed me that human hair (especially blonde hair) was extremely sensitive to changes in temperature, and that these temperature changes induced changes in the hair that could be measured with great precision. At least if it had never been touched by a curling iron or chemicals. It was therefore used in meteorological instruments such as radiosonde hygrometers

You learn something new every day!


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