From Our Editors
Before Whitney at Amour Salon began to trim hairdos in her salon's private booths, scissors shaped the locks of human history in surprising ways. What follows is a brief history of man's biggest innovation since sliced bread—besides, of course, bread sliced with scissors.
A History of Scissors: 1500 BC to 2012 AD The exact origin of scissors—a pair of metal blades joined at a pivot point—is unclear; the earliest cave drawings depict Neanderthal children playing Rock, Leaf, and either Scissors or Gaping Dinosaur Maw. Their first definitive use dates back to ancient Egypt, when Cleopatra took revenge upon her former lover, Ted, by clipping him out of their old prom photos. As scissors' popularity grew, so did Egypt's population of hairless cats—a phenomenon that continues to this day.
Centuries later, when pestilence and war laid siege to all of Europe, wizards found that scissors could be used to keep their beards prim after encounters with asthmatic dragons left them badly singed. Out in the pastures, shepherds—or sheep-watchin’ guys—used scissors to shear their livestock’s wool, which was valued for its use as armor for the king’s quickly dwindling army.
During the Victorian Era, scissors were outlawed as part of Gladstone’s crackdown on paper snowflakes. With no means to trim, tailors could only add fabric to things, sewing unnecessary ruffles to collars and extending tablecloths so that no table leg's ankle would cause a salacious uproar at dinner parties.
After nearly a century in obscurity, scissors made a triumphant comeback in 1929, when panicked stockbrokers chopped up old earnings reports to make new collages showing record profits.
As the nation entered World War II, it devoted all its resources to making scissors for the effort, and in 1988, President Ronald Reagan famously declared, "Mr. Gorbachev, chip away at this wall with scissors! Or just tear it down, I guess. Whatever." Today, as Whitney brandishes her own pair of scissors as she cuts, styles, and colors her clients’ hair, there can be no more fitting legacy for this timeless tool.
Review question: What are some things you use scissors for?
Fill in the blank: Grandpa sharpened his scissors with a pair of _____.
Can you spell scissors? Try it! _____.