Monday, February 18, 2013

Emil J. Paidar Barber Chairs

As of this writing, an eBay search of Emil J. Paidar would yield several vintage barber chairs and their parts. The chairs would sell anywhere from $400 for an "as-is" condition to more than $2000 for a fully restored and functional one. The listing on there is a testament of the brand's quality and design that's worthy of a collector's real estate and investment.

The Emil J. Paidar Company was based in Chicago, and it manufactured barber chairs from the early 20th century until the 70's. At one point in the company's existence, it was the nation's top manufacturer. It also made several other barber supplies that are both elegant and consistent with the brand. Among others, they include wall fixtures, barber poles, manicure tables, work cabinets and shoe shining stands.

In the 1930's, the company struggled to grow due to the country's economic situation. No matter how hard the times were, it managed to survive and eventually prosper. World War II helped Emil J. Paidar raise revenue through large incoming orders of cartridge cases as well as other war supplies. It became the biggest barber chair manufacturer in the late 1950's with a seventy percent share of the market.

The late 50's was also the time that the newcomer, Takara Belmont Company entered the US market. Since this competitor was based in Japan, it had the advantage of outsourcing less costly parts. It allegedly made barber chairs similar to that of Emil J. Paidar at a significantly lower price point. Intense competition wasn't beneficial at all to the leading manufacturer. Aside from the changing times, it was difficult for the business to keep loyal customers. With a cheaper price and rather similar features, it simply didn't make sense to purchase the more expensive brand.

In 1969, Emil J. Paidar saw its inevitable downfall with Takara Belmont's purchase of Koken Barber's Supply Company, the second largest manufacturer before Takara Belmont's arrival. Subsequently, its market share dwindled. It eventually went out of business, leaving the Japanese company the leading manufacturer until today.

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