Manufacturing: Roll Your Own

Night after night, two planes packed with 20 tons of hair curlers took off from Copenhagen. In seven weeks last spring, 350,000 heat-retaining Carmen Curler sets were airlifted to New York on rush order from the U.S. beauty firm, Clairol. Labeled "Carmen" or "Kindness" and marketed by Clairol, nearly a million of the Danish-made curlers have already been snatched up by American women, for prices ranging from $13 to $40 a set. An additional 500,000 were sold in more than a score of other countries.

The owner of the new curler set plugs it into an electrical outlet and, in...