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Old 16th May 2021, 12:28 pm   #1
Otter's vintage
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Default Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Am I at risk using this Pifco hairdryer? What parts may contain asbestos?
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Old 16th May 2021, 12:34 pm   #2
M0FYA Andy
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

What is the heater coil wound on? It looks like ceramic to me, rather than asbestos.

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Old 16th May 2021, 12:50 pm   #3
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

I'm really young and never actually saw asbestos in my life, but I collect old stuff and saw posts here mentioning asbestos contained in old hairdryers, so I got scared and wanted to ask. Is the heating element part the only thing that could contain asbestos? What about that orange thing covering the wires in the handle? Should I also be worried about that?
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Old 16th May 2021, 1:53 pm   #4
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

I don't think there's any chance the sleeving in the handle would contain asbestos, and in any case it would be very stable. Could you take a close-up photo of the heating element, or even a part of the heating element? - that might help us to recognise what you have. In an earlier thread here,

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=157833 ,

the consensus was that such elements are generally wound on unglazed fireclay. Unless asbestos items are disintegrating there's not much to fear if they're in stable positions away from moving air currents, but of course the output end of a hair dryer isn't one of those.

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Old 16th May 2021, 2:17 pm   #5
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

A close up photo of the element end will be useful.
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Old 16th May 2021, 2:56 pm   #6
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

I don't know if this is what you want to see.
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Old 16th May 2021, 7:38 pm   #7
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

That looks like a ceramic former to me.

I've not really seen asbestos in the 'front-end' of hairdryers - they always seemed to use a ceramic former like the one you show, or a sort-of X-shaped one made from Mica.
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Old 16th May 2021, 7:53 pm   #8
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Agree with G6Tanuki.

Asbestos isn't likely to be used in the hairdryer. It's most often found as a thermal insulating material for something hot - if it were going to be used, it might be present between the element and the casing, to stop the casing getting hot if the fan failed, for instance.

It has admirable properties, but the health issues are well-known. But just looking at a piece won't hurt, nor will owning something where it is in place and stable.
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Old 16th May 2021, 7:56 pm   #9
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Agreed, the element former appears to be ceramic. The sleeving in the handle is unlikely to be an ACM. Asbestos was sometimes used an ingredient of the filler in any bakelite parts but if so, the risk is not significantly different to any other bakelite object and very low due to the stability of the material.

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I'm really young and never actually saw asbestos in my life
Some ACMs are easy to recognise, in others the asbestos is so well integrated with other materials that unless you have them tested, it is impossible to know whether they are asbestos-containing at all. If you regularly work on old materials and equipment, it is good to take an asbestos awareness course or similar to get a basic grounding. However, many such courses are aimed at the construction industry and assume that all asbestos found is 'bad' and will be 'dealt with' by a licenced contractor. They would not usually recognise a situation where the ACMs are actually wanted as part of something.
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Old 16th May 2021, 8:20 pm   #10
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Hello,

I would like to agree that what we see is a ceramic element in that hair dryer to keep the heating wires in position.

If anyone does not know how asbestos looks like: Here is an example pic:

http://physik.uibk.ac.at/museum/de/d...es/rs329g.html

The asbestos is used there as a heat insulation between glass and metal caps of the valve. I do have several similar valves in my collection. As long as you avoid to "disturb" (= touch or break) the material you do not need to be afraid. These valves have got a good home in a cabinet behind glass doors.

Yes, I would not like to use a hair dryer with asbestos inside, too! So it is good that you ask about.

Regards, Joe
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Old 16th May 2021, 10:05 pm   #11
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

The one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is how well made the machine is compared to its power guzzling modern day equivalent.
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Old 16th May 2021, 10:14 pm   #12
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Please explain ?

Why would the modern dryer consume more power for the same drying effect?

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Old 16th May 2021, 10:17 pm   #13
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirstyd View Post
the one thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is how well made the machine is compared to its power guzzling modern day equivalent.
I remember owning a similar one, and how heavy and fatiguing it was on the wrist muscles.
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Old 16th May 2021, 10:40 pm   #14
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobaltblue View Post
Please explain ?

Why would the modern dryer consume more power for the same drying effect?

Cheers

Mike T
I don't think "equivalent" was meant to refer to drying effect, just what is available to buy.

Pifco Princess, 300W
https://www.worthpoint.com/worthoped...950s-245290510

The one SWMBO uses 1,900W and I don't think that includes the 135W motor that is quoted separately on the rating plate.
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Old 16th May 2021, 10:57 pm   #15
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

My parents had exactly this model (possibly from my maternal grandmother) but in pink, I recall well the element/former, the six-blade hard black plastic impeller and the positively-acting cherry-red switches and cherry-red element guard, (I took it to bits as a small boy....) the element's former was definitely unglazed ceramic as previously mentioned, so harmless. It was certainly a chunky and heavy device compared to lightweight flimsy modern driers, and its gentle stream of hot air from a quiet and smooth motor were certainly a contrast to modern frantic shriekers. I'm pretty certain that the woven sleeving shown was a varnished fabric type too, being away from the really hot parts, rather than asbestos or fibreglass.
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Old 17th May 2021, 6:39 am   #16
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Were the cases on early models were a form of Bakelite? However, if you don't sand, grind, or drill, there is no danger.

A hair dryer with a power consumption of five times that of the Pifco is unlikely to dry hair five times as fast, just more likely to damage it quicker.

I own one of these (seventies manufacture), the element former is ceramic with a mica liner around it.

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Old 17th May 2021, 7:15 am   #17
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by G.Castle View Post
Were the cases on early models were a form of Bakelite?
Yes, many were, such as those pictured here in black, walnut and cream

https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...23&postcount=8

Cream bakelite is chemically different and more prone to heat stress, hence the way most cream Bush DAC90As show at least a little cracking above the mains dropper, never (or almost never?) seen in the "walnut" version. That may well be the reason some cream hairdryers with bakelite casings, such as the HMV HD1, had a painted finish rather than being made of the cream material.

Paul
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Old 17th May 2021, 8:09 am   #18
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Now, are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is it really the Neutral (black) conductor of the flex that is connected through the on/off switch?

Surely it should be the Live (red) one, shouldn't it?

Am I missing something? Or just being totally thick?
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Last edited by Lancs Lad; 17th May 2021 at 8:27 am. Reason: Clarity and improved grammar.
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Old 17th May 2021, 8:21 am   #19
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancs Lad View Post
Surely it should be the Live one, shouldn't it?
I wonder if the thinking was that any electrical contact with the user is most likely to involve the switch itself, through physical damage to the dryer or the misadventure of using it with dripping hands. An electric fire, for instance, presents an obvious hazard if the elements are live when it's switched off, but a hairdryer isn't likely to spend much time at all sitting around just plugged in.

Paul

Last edited by Paul_RK; 17th May 2021 at 8:46 am.
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Old 17th May 2021, 8:46 am   #20
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Default Re: Does this 1960s hairdryer contain asbestos?

Looks OK to me.
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