False eyelashes were evidently invented under the auspices of director D. W. Griffith. Obsessed with detail in his films, while working on his epic “Intolerance,” (1916) Mr. Griffith demanded that the actress Seena Owen, who plays Princess Beloved in the Babylonian sequence, have longer eyelashes to bat.
A wigmaker came up with some human hair woven into pieces of thin gauze, which were pasted to Miss Owen’s eyelids with spirit gum. According to actress Lillian Gish in her autobiography, “The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me” (Prentice-Hall 1969), one morning Seena Owen’s irritated eyes were swollen nearly shut. They discontinued use of the spirit-gum fused eyelashes after that until she healed.
It took another 50 years for false eyelashes to become fashionable for street wear. After improvements, of course.
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