If you’re an antique lover, you would love the idea of placing a rather nostalgic barber chair somewhere in your house or parlor.
Antique barber chairs would usually remind us of the black and white times, which are to date, cherished, and loved!
This guide would help you authenticate a barber chair as an antique and we would also give you an insight into a few key identification points.
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When Did Barber Chairs Start Trending?
A barber chair is a chair designed for hairdressers and salons and it did not come into fashion until the time of the civil war or after the 1850s.
Barbers at that time not only shaped beards or trimmed long locks of hair, but also performed a decent amount of surgeries!
Surgeries that even included tooth extractions and closure of wounds!
Such complex procedures called for the need to make such a chair that could easily recline and give adequate support to the body.
I know that sounds quite shocking, but it is indeed amazing how times have changed and protocols thus revolutionized!
Due to the necessity of that time, barber chairs were also made portable to cater to the needs of many people in different areas.
They could easily be folded and carried around all over the city!
So to say that barbers during the time of the civil war were multi-talented assets would certainly not prove to be an understatement!
What Are Some Characteristics Of An Antique Barber Chair?
Before we go on classifying different types of barber chairs, let us have a quick look at some of their characteristics in general.
- They were fashioned in high-quality upholstery and admirable ornate designs
- Most of the barber chairs comprised of wood
- Their most characteristic feature was that of their height; being taller than most other chairs in the market
- They could easily be reclined back and forth up to several degrees, hence facilitated different positions to cater to a variety of procedures
- Always included either a footrest (that would pop out with the push of a button) or a stool fixed in its position
Did The Barber Chairs Get Modified Towards The End Of The 1800s?
As a matter of fact, yes!
Modern problems called for modern solutions and manufacturers were able to produce better and convenient versions of the barber chairs.
If your antique barber chair has one or all of these features, then it would be fair to say that it belonged to the age of the late 1800s.
A few of these features are cited below:
- The older barber chairs could only recline up to a certain limit, but the newer ones were fashioned to offer a fully reclinable option!
- An all-new design that featured a 360-degree swivel of the entire chair, very similar to the office or gaming chairs that we see nowadays!
- By the ease of a foot press, one could even change the height of the seat; this feature was made possible by the incorporation of a hydraulic press system
What Is The Classification Of Antique Barber Chairs?
1. The Fred And Frank Koenigramer Barber Chair
Sons of William KoKoenigramer; the German immigrant, invented the hydraulic press system circa 1920.
Their barber chairs soon gained enough fame and popularity, so much that they even gave a name to their barber chair brand: ‘Reliance’.
F&F continued manufacturing these barber chairs up until the 1960s, after which their business was overshadowed by the debut of a modern Japanese company that offered the market even superior barber chairs.
Today, their value is around 300-1100 dollars.
One can easily recognize them with the inscribed manufacturer’s name on the metal foot grate.
The earlier models are designed without headrests but do feature armrests in a porcelain base.
Some of these antique barber chairs happen to be rust-ridden and are hence sold at lower values (around 300$).
However those in better conditions hit up to 1 grand.
2. Theo A. Kochs Barber Chairs
These barber chairs are considered one of the finest and oldest barber chairs in the United States of America!
Founded in 1871 in the state of Chicago, this company not only produced barber chairs but also hardware supplies that included mirrors, shelves, and other necessities needed to set up a barbershop.
One of the most interesting facts about this company is that their products last up to a lifetime!
These babies are restorable to date! Even today, these barber chairs are functional!
Suppliers have a collection of parts that often go missing, such as the headrest or base.
The Theo A. Kochs Gold Medal Barber Chair is one of their most initial and supreme models, which also means that a lot of people wish to get a hold of it!
Their upholstery is comprised of high-quality leather.
These too range from 300$-3500$ depending on the amount of rust and damage.
3. Koken Barber Chairs
The Koken’s Barber Supply company emerged during the early 1900s, but they had already established their roots towards the end of the 1800s.
This was yet another very popular brand in the United States that harbored its productivity in the heart of Missouri; St. Louis.
Earnest E. Koken, the founder of Koken Barber Chairs, was one of the few individuals who incorporated the hydraulic press system into their barber chairs.
However, their hydraulic press stood unique due to its additional pedal style innovation.
Their chairs did not only recline, but also swiveled.
It is to be noted that models manufactured during the 1940s or 1950s were deprived of fancy wooden cravings, which later gained popularity as newer models made their way through the market.
But due to their old age, they are sold under 500 dollars.
Newer, fancier, and cleaner models can range up to 6 grand!
4. Louis Hanson Barber Chairs
The maestro behind this company was none other than the Danish immigrant Louis Hanson who set this company tall circa 1843.
Situated in the busy hub of Chicago, Louis managed to produce one of the finest wooden barber chairs of the century!
Although, many people agree that compared to other barber shop supplies in the market, the products manufactured at Louis’ factory were relatively below par.
One way to identify these antique pieces is to look for the company name of the metal grate.
However, it is a tedious task to find an authentic Louis Hanson Barber Chair, since these babies are quite rare!
If you do come across one, make sure to get it double checked with an experienced antique collector!
Wooden models are usually auctioned at or below 500 dollars.
But those with leather upholstery or a porcelain structure are priced above 1500$, provided that the condition is almost immaculate.
5. Emil J. Paidar Barber Chairs
This brand made its debut before the entry of Koken and Belmont into the market; the latter two in the long run became th former’s toughest competitors!
Paidar was yet another company situated in Chicago which operated from 1900-1950.
These barber chairs were known and appreciated widely, mostly because their architecture displayed magnificent designs coupled with unparalleled comfort!
To identify an Emil Paidar barber chair, look out for the headrest that has core of cast iron embellished with a brass bracket.
The padding upholstery comprised of high quality leather and the headrest itself was detachable.
The armrests were lined with beautiful designs laid out in chrome whereas the colors of the seat and backrest exhibited unique harmony and contrast (both being the same color).
And of course, these barber chairs were also geared with the hydraulic press system.
They go as low as 750$ and as high as 2.5 grand.
The lower priced versions are mostly porcelain structures that have been damaged whereas its counterpart comprises of metal and leather.
To have a look at their models, click here.
6. The Vintage Variety
A vintage barber chair would be considered very old and highly antique.
But not necessarily eons old or dramatically weary.
These barber chairs are antiques that are often hard to classify, with few identification features and traits.
One could predict their era by looking for the addition of hydraulic press systems, that made their debut in the 1900s.
According to a generic classification criterion, vintage barber chairs are the ones produced after the 1920s.
Where To Get Authentic Antiques, Such As Barber Chairs?
Here, I’ll be listing a few trustworthy sites where you can purchase antiques from.
That being said, it is mandatory that you carry out your own research and even consult a professional (shall the need arise) before making a purchase.
Some of them are very costly, and you wouldn’t want to get scammed!
This website has a whole marketplace dedicated to barber chairs only!
Not only would you see a large plethora of antique barber chairs, but also come across renowned barber chair manufacturers from the past!
This website needs no introduction!
It is loved by antique collectors world wide!
I like how this website contains some very convenient and facilitating filters that can help get to your desire barber chairs without much hassle.
You can even choose your favorite style or brand!
I hope this article was as helpful as I intended to make it!
That being said, I would still term this as a basic knowledge blog and you should always consider adding more to your research before making a purchase for valuable antiques.