A craft that died out.
The horn-comb maker.
Until the 1950s horn-comb making was
an independent craft, when it was
an unregulated trade and the
number of horn-comb makers began a
steady decline. Petz Hornmanufaktur in
Austria is one of the few that still makes
combs, brushes and hair clasps by
hand from natural horn. Since 1862 the
knowledge and experience of manual
processing of horn has been passed
down from generation to generation.
Today Thomas Petz, the grandson of
the last Austrian horn-comb maker
runs the family business, using the
machinery of his grandfather. All steps
in the processing of horn, around thirty
for the production of a comb, are followed
to a tee in the factory in Vienna,
from the removal of the tip of the horns
to the final polishing with pumice powder.
That’s not the usual method. The
horn is more often pressed in its country
of origin. In Vienna the horn is slit
and carefully heated in an oil bath.
Then it’s pressed into sheets on special
machines which the grandfather built
according to plans he drew up in part