About This Object
These wig curlers are made out of kaolin (china clay) – the same kind of clay that clay pipes are manufactured from. It has ‘WB’ stamped on its ends. These curlers are also known as ‘roulettes’ or ‘bilboquet’. The clay curlers would have been made in different sizes to allow different styles to be created – either with tight or loose curls. They would have been wrapped in damp paper, wound into a human or animal hair wig, and then baked at a low temperature in an oven to set the curls. Wigs were fashionable for men to wear during the mid-eighteenth century and white wigs were worn on the most formal of occasions. However, they were expensive to buy, so it is likely that these belonged to officers on board the ship and would have been used by one of their servants to reset wigs when they needed reshaping.