The internet is going crazy for this strange-looking contraption because no one really knows what it is!
While history is fun, especially looking back at old photos, it sometimes helps to look back so we can see how far we've come. Technology has grown exponentially over the last 2 decades, however, it means certain strange machines pop up from the past and we don't have any idea what they are!
The bizarre contraption looks like a metal jellyfish, or the not too dint cousin of the Aliens from The War of The Worlds, however, we can tell you that this is from the 1920s and used in a hair salon.
Okay, we'll tell you - it's a permanent wave machine, used to perm hair.
"Science has pronounced straight hair to be freakish," declared a haircare ad in a 1922 issue of Harper's Bazaar. "Just think of the great improvement a permanent wave makes in appearance. Close your eyes and imagine fairy fingers transforming your lank strands into lovely, lasting curls, as natural looking as if you were born with them."
Invented in the early 1900s, this beast machine was used to essentially bake curls into a woman's head, resulting in those beautiful and popular waves of the 1920s. It consisted of a series of hot irons, where the woman would have to sit, attached to them for hours.
Unfortunately, these contraptions weren't required to uphold the same health and safety standards as we have today, so many women walked away from these machines with electric shocks, bald spots, singed and burnt hair, and even sometimes melting the hair.
Created by German inventor Charles Nessler, he had tinkered with the idea of chemically altering hair to keep it curly. He patented his machine in 1909, but the permanent wave did not take hold until the late 1920s when a combination of modified hairstyles for women and the demise of the fake hairpiece spurred a new desire for a more 'natural' wavy style.
The machine is worked by the hairdresser winding the hair tightly into the roller, painting the strands with an alkaline chemical solution, and then using the fearsome electric prongs to blast each rolled-up section with heat from an individual metal cylinder.
The method was tedious, and sometimes dangerous, with most appointments lasting all day. The machine became obsolete as early as the 1950s, as "cold waves" became more popular, with a reliance on chemicals and not heat to hold in.
So just count your blessings that hair technology has moved forward so unless something really awful happens, you never walk away from the hairdresser's chair with a burnt scalp and missing locks.