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History of the barber chair that transformed the industry

Barber Chairs are specially designed chair used in the Barbershop. You may have been on the barber chair numerous time.

Have you ever wondered the great piece of furniture you see often in the barbershop, how it came into existence?

The Barber chairs are used from the time of the Civil War. Several features of the modern chairs are taken from the classic model such as the high seating, upholstery, and special foot resting place. In 1850, the first factory-made chair was introduced. Since then many upgrades were made to the earlier model. The company who introduced the first reclining barber chair patented the new model in 1878. The new type of chairs had foot resting place. The Archer Company of Saint Louis was the first who manufactured the reclining barber chair.

Archer company later realizes the need for the mechanical switch to raise and lower the chair during the barbering. The feature was useful to provide comfortable height to chairs during the hair cutting. In the early days, when the ordinary chair was used in the barber shop, the barber was used to adjust himself during the hair cutting process. It was challenging for the barber to handle the person who has below or above the average height. Archer company recognized the problem and designed the chair which can be adjusted during the barbering. The innovation solved the century-old problem and enabled the barber to comfortably manage the client without bothering them.

Later the Eugene Berninghaus of Cincinnati contributed to the early design of the Archer’s. The new barber chair was capable of reclining and revolving at the same time, which made it flexible enough during the barbering. He named the new barber chair, “The Paragon”. The new design got instant publicity in the industry as it was very convenient for the barbers. Many other chair manufacturing company used the updated design to produce the latest type of the barber chairs.

One of the top chair maker company based in the Chicago named Theodore Koch leveraged the benefit and incorporated new innovation into his own design of the barber chair. The new chair became popular instantly and received good response from the buyers. The company sold more than 35,000 units of the new barber chair in the year 1885.

As the technology evolved, the chair maker started utilizing the latest technology to make the barber chair easy to use for the barbers. The Ernest Koken, German immigrant decided to build the barber chair which uses the hydraulic pump instead of the mechanical switch. The new chair was easy to operate using the hydraulic mechanism. It was also having a button to move the chair up and down by just controlling the joystick. By using the Joystick the barber was able to manage all the mechanical functions.

After the success of the new barber chair, several companies entered into the chair making business. They produced various types of barber chair models that provide comfortable seating and simple operating tools. One of the top US-based barber chair manufacturing company sold approx 10,000 chairs a year in 1950 to more than 100,000 barber shops.

However, the Chicago based Emil J. Paidar Company broke the record and became the number one manufacturer who sold more chair than any other company in 1950.

Today, we see various types of barber chair in the market. Although, the basic mechanism of the barber chair has not changed much. You still see the core features such as reclining and old foot resting place attached to the chair. The latest technology is allowing the chair maker to add more features such as automated switches that move the chair up and down, right and left or recline it at a preferable angle. Some chairs don’t even need the human touch. It automatically adjusts the height and position itself after a person sits on the chair. After the person releases the chair, the barber chair automatically turns itself into small size chair and moves additional parts inside to make space.

Many Salon chairs are also made using the similar technology. For Salon, the reclining feature is most important as it provides the comfortable seating to the expert who is applying the Salon treatment to the customer. During the facial, the expert has to reach the face of the customers. If the chair is not providing proper reclining, then applying the facial on the customer’s face can become a daunting task. The Salon chair plays a big role in making the customer and the salon expert comfortable during the treatment.

The early barber chair has come a long way after it was first introduced in 1850. It was one of the best inventions of history. It has changed the barber industry completely. Next time when you go to the barbershop or the salon, try to feel the hard work the inventor has put into designing a barber chair.

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