You can’t have a barbershop or hair salon without it. In fact it is nigh impossible to operate a beauty salon without this piece of salon furniture – the barber or salon chair. They are essential. The best look great, are easy to keep clean and are wonders of simple but practical technology.
Today, salon chairs help define your salon. They help you create a great first impression. They add to or crate the type of atmosphere you want your clientele to be a part of. They are an integral part of the overall experience of coming to your professional salon. Yet, the salon chairs we have today have a colourful history. They are all part-and-parcel of the trade barbers undertook in the past.
Barbers have performed their craft throughout history. They first receive written mention in the Bible. They were part of the cultural milieu in the ancient empires of both Greece and Rome. In both societies, barbershops served the same purposes. Along with the removal or trim of the beard or a complete cut, patrons received the latest political and society gossip.
Through the years, both hairstyles and the chair changed. From a relatively simple chair, it evolved. In fact, some early “chairs” were only upended wooden buckets. Others folded up. All reflected the culture, art and nature of the society of the times. There were Queen Anne chairs with their straight, wooden and narrow backs. There were also more elaborate Art Deco and Victorian barber chairs. A wooden child’s barber chair actually swivelled.
In the early 19th century, barber chairs has some of the features common to today including high seating, upholstery, and a footrest. Yet, much of this salon furniture looked more like thrones than common barber chairs. They were plush and had wooden carvings on their arms and legs. Some simpler ones could recline and featured wooden arms and legs but padded leather seats.
In the 1850s, the manufacturing of barber chairs began. These early wooden chairs, designed specifically for the trade had these features in common:
- Height – taller than the normal domestic chair
- A headrest fixed into place
- A limited ability to recline
- Some type of foot rest or stool
As the industry began to grow, technological changes and advances in design resulted in a new type of chair. They could now recline to a greater degree and even swivel in a circle if necessary. Now the addition of hydraulic systems could actually raise or lower the chair to the desired height.
In the marketplace, several companies vied for supremacy over the years. In the United States, the Archer Company, Eugene Berninghaus Company, Theodore Koch of Chicago, the Kline Chair Company, Emil J, Paidar and Ernest Koken all created advancements or modified the chair. However, they all lost out after WWII to a Japanese firm, the Takara Belmont Co. This company was to take the manufacturing of chairs from the barbershop into the salon in the revolution of the 1960s.
Since then companies have continued to elaborate on or renew the barber/salon chair. The Corleone, El Greco, Brasco and Soprano barber chairs are all examples of today’s offerings.
Cheers or is it Chairs?
Today, you select salon equipment, including chairs for their durability, safety, comfort and sanitary qualities. These are the most important features to look for when buying beauty salon equipment. Décor is also an important characteristic. If you have them all, it is a sure step towards creating a successful, memorable salon.