By The Antique Barber | September 1, 2008



In 1911 a high school junior by the name of Leo J. Wahl began experimenting with an electromagnetic motor.  Who knew he would found the worlds largest clipper corporation.
While Leo attended the University of Illinois he designed a medical massager that his uncle Dr. J. Frank Wahl began to manufacture and he began to sell at barbershops.
While frequenting barbershops he realized there were many tools that needed improvement.  Leo eventually took over his uncle’s manufacturing business and started working on a new electric hair clipper.
On October 14, 1919 Leo J. Wahl applied for a patent and Wahl manufacturing company was born.  Leo’s electromagnetic clipper was the first practical clipper with a drive motor in the hand.  By the end of the 1920’s Wahl manufactured and sold approximately 1,000 clippers all over the United States.
Receiving his patent on February 2, 1921 Leo purchased 100% of the Wahl manufacturing company his uncle started.  Leo renamed and incorporated as Wahl Clipper Corporation.  Much money was made from patent infringement royalties and penalties paid to Wahl by others.
In the 1940’s Wahl expanded its production to hair dryers, shear sharpeners, curling brushes, combs and attachments for hair clippers.  These additions made productions close to 2,000 items per day.
In 1957 Leo J. Wahl’s life ended on May 20th.  Mr. Wahl had applied for over 100 patents on many different inventions.
Over the years the Wahl Clipper Company has maintained its leading edge on its competitors with the first cordless clipper, cordless rechargeable soldering iron, foot and back massager and the worlds first battery operated facial hair trimmer.
Wahl Clipper Corporation is an international industry leader in the manufacture of consumer personal care appliances and products for the professional beauty and barber salon trade. The company currently employs many people worldwide in Australia, Canada, China, England, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Japan and the United States.
Wahl Clipper Corporation made a major commitment to international business and opened operations in South Africa and Brazil. Besides opening new operations in other countries, they also introduced three new products to the Wahl family: The Complete Hair cutting Kit for Dummies, the Wahl Deluxe Chrome Pro Complete Hair cutting Kit, and the Porta-Clip (Barber in a Bucket).

Topics: HISTORY |


  1. John Emerson Says:
    November 13th, 2008 at 9:46 am

    I owened a Wahl shear Sharpener for over 40 years and used it about every month. I left it in the barber shop I was working in and the owner dropped it and broke it. I would like to find another machine I could purchase but can not find one within reason. Please let me know if you strill make such a machine

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  6. cris Says:
    November 27th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I have an oster model 6 electric clipper. Can not find any info on it. It’s pretty old, maybe 1950’s. You guys know anything about it?


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