Have you ever sat in an antique barber chair? If you have, then you know how comfortable they are, and if you haven’t, then you’re missing out! You’re probably familiar with the iconic, nostalgic chairs that populate barber shops, but do you know the history behind them or the best way to go about acquiring antique or vintage barber chairs?
In this article, we’ll explore the world of barber chairs, from their history and restoration to where you can find the best antique barber chair for your own personal collection!
A Brief History of Antique Barber Chairs
Old barber chairs are highly sought after by collectors and often command high prices. We all love these chairs, whether antique or vintage, but where did they begin?
Barber chairs actually go back incredibly far, two-hundred years or more, but some of the earliest barber chairs we are most familiar with are those made in the late 1800s. These barber chairs are made of oak, walnut, or cast iron and with leather upholstery overtop. Some also have intricate designs on the backrest or headrest.
Barber chairs from this era were often very heavy and difficult to move around, so they were usually stationary in one spot in the barbershop. The manufacturer name could often be found on the metal foot grate.
Today, antique barber chairs are still popular among those who appreciate their classic design and craftsmanship. Many people enjoy the nostalgic feel of sitting in vintage barber chairs, and some even have them in their homes as part of their decor.
Popular Antique Barber Chairs Manufacturers
If you’re thinking of purchasing an antique barber chair, or if you’re trying to learn more about one you already own, you may want to research their manufacturers.
There are a few antique barber chair manufacturers that are particularly popular among collectors. Here are a few:
Louis Hanson Barber Chairs
One of the most popular antique barber chair manufacturers is Louis Hanson. Hanson was a Danish immigrant who to the United States to make a career for himself. After several years of different jobs and manufacturing different products, he eventually produced barber chairs in about the 1880s.
Even though they aren’t as ornate or decorative as some, these chairs are hard to find and so are sought after in the market. They can bring in anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Theo A. Kochs Company Barber Chairs
Another antique barber chair company that is popular among collectors is Theo A. Kochs Company, formed in 1871. As one of the oldest barber chair manufacturers in the U.S., it produced beautiful chairs that had quality mechanics. It even produced other barber shop related products, such as stools, mirror cases, and the iconic barber pole.
Some interesting features in a Theo A. Kochs Barber Chair included:
- quarter-sawed oak
- Mohair Plush leather in various colors
- reclining mechanism
- hydraulic lift
These barber chairs can be quite expensive if they are still great quality, even selling for several thousand dollars.
Emil J. Paidar Company Barber Chairs
Another barber chair company that is popular among collectors is Emil J. Paidar Company. Formed in 1919, it went strong producing both chairs and other barber shop accessories until 1970.
In the 1930s, the company really struggled. However, World War II made a huge difference to Paidar’s company, as they raised revenue while building products that supported the war effort.
While their barber chair features were not as snazzy as others’, they did have pretty special children’s barber chairs, which can sell now for over a thousand dollars.
F. F. Koenigkramer Barber Chairs
This old barber chair manufacturer is F.F. Koenigkramer Company, produced barber chairs between 1900 and 1920 under the company name Reliance. They became the F.F. Koenigkramer Company in the 1940s. One feature they were known for was having porcelain bases on their chairs.
They can get anywhere from a couple hundred dollars to a thousand dollars, depending on the quality of the piece.
Antique Koken Barber Chairs
One of the most well-known antique barber chair companies is Koken’s Barber Supply Company. It was started in the late 1800s by Ernest Koken and quickly became a leading manufacturer. They even produced other barbering supplies, such as cabinets and shaving mugs.
This U.S. owned and operated company was a force to be reckoned with in the barbering market, but eventually became a subsidiary of Takara Belmont, a Japanese manufacturer of all things barber chair and dentist chair.
Koken Barber Chairs were known for their:
- luxury revolving and reclining mechanisms
- quality upholstery
- smooth hydraulic-powered lifts
- beautiful wood carvings
Amazingly enough, if these chairs are in mint condition, they could sell for even $500 to $6,000! Definitely not a valuation to pass over.
Are Antique Barber Chairs Worth Anything?
The question may have crossed your mind as to whether or not antique or vintage barber chairs are even worth anything today. Well, I hope you can see from this article that they can indeed be worth a lot of money! What it really boils down to is the manufacturer, the scarcity, and the condition of the chair.
We looked at several manufacturers earlier, and we know that scarcity is a big reason behind value in many antiques. So, let’s spend a moment understanding how to assess the conditions of antique barber chairs.
When shopping for an antique barber chair, it’s important to inspect the condition of the chair carefully. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracked leather or chipped paint. Also, make sure that all the parts are in working order before making a purchase–or at least accept that you may need to replace a few things.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to research the value of the particular barber chair you’re looking at before buying it. This will help you determine if the asking price is fair, and whether or not the chair is a good investment.
When in doubt, you can always visit online forums, auction houses, or antique dealers to get a better idea of the valuation of the barber chair you either own or want to purchase.
Barber Chair Restoration and Repair
If you are lucky enough to own an antique barber chair, you may want to consider restoring it to its original condition.
This can be a meticulous, difficult, and time-consuming task, especially for an amateur who has never built a barber chair before. After all, the condition of the restoration will affect the value of the chair.
However, these chairs are definitely worth the repairs–it’s worth it to preserve the chair’s history and value, regardless of whether you want to keep the chair or sell it for profit.
There are a few things you will need to do in order to restore your antique chair.
Step 1: Disassemble the Barber Chair
The first step is to disassemble the chair, which can be a challenge in and of itself.
You will need to be very careful not to damage any of the parts as you take them apart, and you will want to keep in mind which piece goes where so that you can rebuild it later. Consider writing down the assembly steps because there are several!
Step 2: Decide Whether to Repair or Purchase Parts
As you disassemble the chair, watch for broken or worn out parts. These will need to be repaired or replaced before you can reassemble the chair.
If you have the ability to repair the parts, great! Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase new ones. Finding the right parts can sometimes take time and effort, but it’s the best investment you could make in your chair.
Fortunately, there are a few companies that sell antique barber chair parts, so you may be able to find what you need if you look around these types of sites.
Step 3: Clean and Order All of the Parts
Once you have decided which parts to repair and which ones to order, it’s time to clean all of the individual parts and order the updates you need.
For example, you will need to remove all of the old upholstery and replace it with new upholstery that matches the original. You might also need to sand down the frame or lubricate any moving parts.
And don’t forget about removing any rust that may have been collected over the years!
Step 4: Reassemble Carefully
Finally, you will need to reassemble the chair with all its newly cleaned or replaced parts. Use the writings you created in Step 1 in order to remember how to put all of the pieces back together in the right order.
Don’t forget things like lubrication and polish to get the barber chair looking and functioning just as it did maybe 100 years ago.
And if you are not confident in your ability to restore an antique chair on your own, that is completely okay! Fortunately, there are many professional restoration companies that can do it for you. (Do keep in mind, however, that this will likely be very expensive.)
One example of such a restoration place is The Salon Chair Guys in California.
Where Can I Find Antique Barber Chairs?
Are you salivating yet over these amazing antique barber chairs? If so, you may be wondering where to find them.
While there are many places to search for your antique barber chair, there are a few places that are more successful than others.
Of course, the best way to find an antique chair is through word-of-mouth. So if you know anyone who is looking to sell an antique barber chair, that would be the perfect place to start your search!
How to Choose the Best Antique Barber Chair for Your Home
If you are considering adding an antique barber chair to your home decor or personal collection, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, you will need to decide where you want to put the chair. It should be placed in a spot where it will get plenty of light so that you can see the intricate details of the chair, though not in direct sunlight, which will damage the leather over time.
Second, you will need to make sure that there is enough space around the chair for people to move comfortably. You don’t want anyone to feel cramped when they are sitting in the chair or trying to walk around it. Displaying it in a corner by a bookcase or lamp table would be an ideal place, as it is out of the walkway.
Third, you should also consider the overall design of your home before choosing an antique barber chair. After all, you want the chair to fit in with your other furniture and decor, not stick out.
For example, if you have a lot of antique furniture, choosing an ornate antique barber chair would make sense. But if your home is more modern in design, you might want to look for a chair that has more clean lines and a simpler design.
Also, think about the colors in your home and how you could incorporate some of them into your barber chair. Perhaps you purchase one with coordinating leather color, or perhaps you match the chair’s wood features with the stain of your trim and bookcases.
There are many ways to have fun picking out the perfect antique chair for your home.
Conclusion to Understanding Antique Barber Chairs
Antique barber chairs are a great way to add style and comfort to your home or barbershop. They are comfortable, stylish, nostalgic, and built to last.
With a little bit of research, you can find the perfect antique chair to suit your needs. And don’t forget to purchase only from a reputable source. And whether you’re looking for a traditional or modern design, there’s an antique barber chair out there that’s perfect for you.
Do you love antique barber chairs? Let us know in the comments below!