While the exact inventor of the hot comb is unknown, an American woman by the name of Annie Malone holds the first patent on the design. The design was later improved upon by Madam CJ Walker, who widened the teeth of the comb to better work on black hair.
The hot comb was initially developed in France as a method to achieve fine straight hair that mimics historical female Egyptian hair. The hot comb is made from metal and is used to smooth or straighten hair from the roots. As of 2014, hot combs can be heated over a separate heat source or by using electricity.