Antique Barber Chairs: History, Brands & Value

Have you ever sat in an ancient barber chair? If you have, then you are aware of how cozy they are. However, if you have not, then you are losing out on an amazing experience!

You’re certainly aware of the classic and quaint barber chairs that can be seen in most barber shops, but do you know the background behind those chairs? Also, do you know the best method to go about purchasing antique or vintage barber chairs?

In this post, we will delve into the world of antique barber chairs, discussing everything from their origins and repair to where you may locate the most impressive antique barber chair for your own private collection!

What is An Antique Barber Chair?

Antique Barber Chair
Antique Barber Chair (Source: Ebay)

A barber chair is the result of a tree that has been felled but whose hinge has not yet been trimmed down to a thickness that allows it to bend.

The sliding movement of the vintage barber chair, which put customers in a posture with their heads down and their feet raised so that the barber could more easily shave them with a straight razor, is what this name alludes to.

History of Antique Barber Chairs

Collectors place a great premium on vintage barber chairs, which results in exorbitant prices being asked for them. We are all big fans of these chairs, regardless of whether they are antiques or vintage, but where did they first appear?

However, the barber chairs that were manufactured in the late 1800s are some of the first barber chairs that are still in use today.

Although barber chairs have been around for at least two hundred years, their history goes back far further. Oak, walnut or cast iron are the materials used to construct these barber chairs, and leather covers the seats and backs.

Additionally, some feature elaborate decorations carved into the backrest or headrest of the chair.

Since barber chairs from this period were often quite heavy and difficult to maneuver, they were typically just left in one location inside the barbershop rather than being moved about. On the metal foot grate, one could often see the name of the maker or company.

Those who value antique barber chairs for their traditional good looks and skilled construction continue to have a strong following in today’s culture.

The sentimental vibe that comes from sitting on an antique barber chair is something that a lot of people really love, and some even have them as part of their home’s decor.

Characteristics of Antique Barber Chairs

Let’s take a brief look at some of the qualities that are shared by vintage barber chairs in general before we go on to discuss the various categories of barber chairs.

  • They had impressively intricate decorations and high-quality leather upholstery throughout their construction
  • The most distinguishing quality of these chairs was their height, which was far greater than that of the vast majority of other seats available on the market
  • Because they could be readily tilted back and forth to an angle of several degrees, they offered a number of settings that were suitable for a wide range of medical treatments
  • Consistently had either a footrest that could be retracted with the touch of a button or a stool that was permanently affixed at its location
  • The vast majority of the barber chairs were made of wood, oak, walnut or cast iron

How to Identify Antique Barber Chairs?

There are many various kinds of antique barber chairs, and each one is popular among a diverse group of people, including barbers and salon owners as well as antique furniture and barbershop collectors.

The chairs have an antique, vintage, one-of-a-kind appearance, and combined with their modest prices, this makes them both desirable and affordable.

Something that was produced more than a century ago is considered to be an antique. Therefore, in order for barber chairs to be declared antiques, they need to have been manufactured no later than the early 1900s.

Barbers have been providing for the requirements of their customers since ancient times. Up until the late 1700s, barbers were not only responsible for cutting hair and shaving faces, but they also extracted teeth, conducted surgical treatments on wounds, and performed bloodletting.

The chairs that barbers used in earlier times varied from inverted baskets and turned-over wooden pails to modern chairs of the day to foldable barber chairs utilized during the Civil War. In point of fact, there is not a great deal that is known about barber chairs that were used before the 1850s.

In the early 1800s, many earlier models of antiques and vintage barber chairs made of wood were intricately carved with extravagant motifs and decorated with plush leather upholstery to provide a decorative touch.

In the 1850s, businesses started manufacturing vintage chairs that were intended only for use in barber shops, which marked the beginning of the barber chair industry. The first chairs of this time period were almost always made out of wood, and cast iron. They included the following qualities:

  • Greater in height than the average chair seen in homes
  • A headrest and padded arm rest that does not move from its place
  • Several degrees of reclined position
  • A foot rest or similar style of stool

During the latter two decades of the 1800s, the industry of barber chairs saw a number of significant technical advancements, including the following:

  • Reclining seats in their entirety
  • Chairs that could rotate around a whole circle, or 360 degrees.
  • Hydraulic mechanisms that enabled the seats to be adjusted in height on demand

Manufacturers of Barber Chairs

The Fred And Frank Koenigramer Antique Barber Chair

1940s Vintage F&F Koenigkramer Reliance Barber Chair for $585
1940s Vintage F&F Koenigkramer Reliance Barber Chair for $585

Around the year 1920, the sons of the German immigrant William KoKoenigramer came up with the idea for the hydraulic press system for a chair. Soon after, the Frank Koenigkramer Barber Chairs attained a level of reputation and popularity that prompted them to give their brand of barber chairs a name, which they chose to call “Reliance.”

After the 1960s, a contemporary Japanese Company entered the market with barber chairs that were even of higher quality than those that F&F had been producing up to that point. After that, F&F’s business was eclipsed by the competition presented by the new Japanese company.

The worth of these antique barber chairs as of right now ranges around between $300 and 1100.

On the metal foot grate of the chair, which is plainly visible, the brand name Koenigkramer Barber Chairs of the maker is engraved, making it easy to identify them. In the early forms, there is no provision for a headrest. However, arm rests in the form of porcelain bases are included.

Due to the fact that some of these antique barber chairs have been damaged by rust, their prices have been reduced to approximately $300 each. Those in better condition may fetch up to a thousand dollars, though.

Theo A. Kochs Company Barber Chairs

Vintage Barber Chair by Theo A. Kochs & Co, Chicago, Circa 1910-20
Vintage Barber Chair by Theo A. Kochs & Co, Chicago, Circa 1910-20 (Sold $1,249.69)

These antique barber chairs have been around for quite some time, which gives them the distinction of being among the oldest and most prestigious barber chairs in the United States of America.

This enterprise, which had its beginnings in 1871 in the state of Chicago, was known for manufacturing not only barber chairs but also a variety of hardware supplies, such as mirrors, shelves, and other essential elements required to establish a barbershop.

The idea that this company’s items might potentially last a lifetime is perhaps one of the most fascinating aspects of their business. These barber chairs continue to be useful up to this day!

The suppliers keep an inventory of the items that are most likely to be misplaced, such as the headrest or the base. The Theo A. Kochs Gold Medal Vintage Barber Chair is one of the company’s first and most exceptional models.

Therefore, there is a great deal of competition to acquire one of these chairs. Their upholstery is made of leather of the highest possible quality. Prices for these antique barber chairs may also vary anywhere from $300 to $3,500, depending on the level of rust and damage.

Vintage Koken Barber Chairs

Vintage Koken Barber Chair 1964 Black Leather Good Condition
Vintage Koken Barber Chair 1964 Black Leather Good Condition (Sold: $1,500.00)

Although the Koken’s Barber Supply Company didn’t come into existence until the early 1900s, the company’s origins may be traced back to the latter half of the 1800s. This was yet another very well-known brand of a vintage chair in the United States, and its production was centered in St. Louis, which is located in the state capital of Missouri.

Earnest E. Koken, the man who started Koken Barber Chairs and was one of the only people to implement the hydraulic press mechanism into their barber chairs, was the company’s namesake and founder.

Nevertheless, their hydraulic press separated out from the competition owing to an extra innovation in the pedal type. In addition to being able to recline, their antique barber chairs also had the ability to swivel. Moreover, the arm rests were made more comfortable.

It is important to note that models produced in the 1940s or 1950s did not have the ornate wooden cravings that became more fashionable as more recent versions made their way onto the market. However, because of their advanced years, they are being sold for less than $500.

Prices for versions of antique barber chairs that are newer, better, and cleaner may go up to $6,000!

Emil J. Paidar Company Barber Chairs

Emil J. Paidar Antique Barber Chair, Made in Chicago Authentic
Emil J. Paidar Antique Barber Chair, Made in Chicago Authentic (Sold $1,000.00)

Before Koken and Belmont entered the market, this brand of barber chair made its debut. Nonetheless, Koken and Belmont ended up being the most formidable opponents for this brand in the long run!

Paidar barber chairs was an additional company that was based in Chicago and was active between the years 1900 to 1950. These antique barber chairs from Paidar Company Chicago gained widespread recognition and acclaim, mostly as a result of the stunning features that their architecture included, which were combined with unrivaled levels of comfort.

Be on the lookout for the distinctive headrest of an Emil Paidar vintage barber chair, which is made out of a core of cast iron and is decorated with a brass bracket. The cushioning and upholstery were both made of leather of the highest possible quality, and the headrest could be removed entirely.

The armrests were adorned with stunning motifs that were arranged in chrome, but the colors of the seat and backrest displayed a one-of-a-kind harmony and contrast (both being the same color). In addition to that, the hydraulic press system was fitted into each of these antique barber chairs as well.

The value for antique barber chairs starts at $750 and goes up to two and a half thousand. The broken porcelain structures that make up the majority of the cheaper variants are contrasted with the metal and leather components that make up the more expensive version.

How To Choose The Best Antique Barber Chairs?

If you are thinking of incorporating vintage barber chairs into the design of your house or into your personal collection, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before you do so.

Location

To begin, you will have to choose where you want to position the antique barber chair in the room. It should be positioned in an area that receives a lot of light so that the fine elements of the chair can be seen.

However, it should not be put in direct sunlight since it will cause the leather to age prematurely and get damaged.

Room and Space

Secondly, you are going to want to make certain that there is sufficient space surrounding the chair for individuals to be able to move about in a relaxed manner.

When someone is seated in the chair or attempting to go around it, you do not want them to feel as if they have limited space. It would be best to display it somewhere where it would not be in the way of foot traffic, such as in a nook next to a lamp table or bookshelf.

Design

Before settling on an antique barber chair, the third thing you need to do is take into account the style of the rest of your property. After all, you want the chair to go in with the rest of your furnishings, and the overall aesthetic of the room, not stand out.

They come in unique designs. So, you have to be creative about where to put them.

For instance, if you already have a significant amount of antique furniture, it might make sense for you to get an elegant antique barber chair. If, on the other hand, your house has a more contemporary aesthetic, you may want to seek a chair that has less ornate details and a more straightforward layout.

Also, give some thought to the chrome colors that are already present in your house and how you may be able to combine some of those colors into your barber chair.

Possibly, you decide to acquire one that has a leather chrome that coordinates with the rest of the room, or maybe you decide to match the chair’s wood accessories with the stain that you use on your trim and bookshelves.

Where to Shop For Antique Barber Chairs?

Finding the antique barber chairs of your dreams may need a trip to several metropolitan antique stores or some internet shopping at eBay. Either option may be helpful to you.

It wasn’t too difficult to shop for antique barber chairs back in the late 1800s and early 1900s since hundreds of barber chairs were produced during those time periods.

Antiquebarberchairs.net is an excellent online marketplace that allows users to locate and shop antique barber chairs produced by a variety of companies.

On Etsy.com, you can choose and shop from a one-of-a-kind collection of salon chairs as well as antique barber chairs.

Bright Barbers has classic and antique-style barber chairs, so if you want the appearance of old barber chairs but the convenience of a contemporary one, you may shop there.

How to Determine the Worth of an Antique Barber Chair and Sell It?

It is imperative that you keep in mind that the value of an antique is only equal to the amount that one individual is willing to pay for it at the moment that you want to sell it.

Auction Show

An auction show is a great place to determine the worth and demand of your antique barber chairs. However, the majority of the time, what you see on the program is just their best guess.

Find out what percentage the auction company gets. It might be the buyer who pays, but it could also be the seller. Either way, it will affect the amount of money that ends up in your pocket. 20% for the auction company is not unusual.

Consignment Galleries

It is possible that you may sell it on consignment to an antique store or even just a business that specializes in consignments. You should anticipate a 60-40%split. In most consignment galleries, the price of an item decreases the longer it is shown inside the gallery.

Therefore, the price of your chair may begin at $800, but after it has been shown for a month, the price might reduce by 50%.

Antique Dealers

There is a possibility that you may be able to sell straight to an antique dealer. Nevertheless, keep in mind that they will need to earn a profit on the transaction.

They are required to make a profit while also negotiating with bargain hunters on both sides of the transaction (you selling to them and the customers buying from them).

On the good side, you have a buyer who will shop it and at the very least offer you some cash, which, depending on the circumstances, may be sufficient compensation. However, it mostly depends on the good working condition of the antique barber chairs.

eBay

eBay is wonderful place to shop and sell because it gives you access to customers from all across the country. However, there are some negatives to consider.

You are still going to have to deal with the limits of having an extremely huge heavy object, which will probably be sold at a local sale anyhow, and the costs may be a little bit of a burden (although they are nothing compared to what you would pay at a consignment gallery).

Visit eBay and do a local search for large furniture items or old barber chairs before you shop to see what other people in your area are doing to ship their purchases. There will be some that can only be picked up. Some vendors may provide customers with the option of delivering their purchases by greyhound bus.

In this scenario, the vendor will package the item in a crate before loading it onto the bus. If this is your first time engaging in significant amounts of bespoke box construction and shipping, you should probably steer clear of it.

Etsy

Etsy is a fantastic website to sell antique stuff, and the fees are far lower than those charged by eBay. The disadvantage of your scenario is that, unlike eBay, they do not have a really excellent tool that allows you to search for items based on their distance from you.

When it comes to reaching a local audience for in-person purchase and sale, it is not as effective as it is when it comes to selling things that can be sent. They offer a local search that only looks for phrases that are entered in their entirety, thus not many people utilize it while surfing.

Craigslist

You may want to look at Craigslist as an alternative. There is no problem selling more expensive products on this platform. You are in possession of a large and weighty object, and it is quite possible that you will sale it in the immediate area.

It is extremely simple, and there are no associated costs or fees to worry about. It works very well for things that are substantial but normally would only appeal to a local audience. The online classifieds website Craigslist is used by a significant number of vintage and antique shops because of its effectiveness as a marketing tool.

Take Away

The addition of comfortable and stylish antique barber chairs is a terrific way to spruce up the appearance of your house or barbershop. They are made to last, while also being vintage, nostalgic, comfy, and elegant.

You may shop for the ideal vintage chair to fulfill your requirements with just a little bit of investigation on your part. Also, don’t forget to make all of your sales and purchases from trusted vendors exclusively.

Regardless of whether you want a classic or contemporary aesthetic, there is an antique barber chair out there that is the ideal fit for you. Do you enjoy vintage barber chairs? Share your thoughts with us!

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