Belmont barber chairs have been around since the early 1900s. They are popular for being stylish and profitable at the same time. Its manufacturer, Takara Belmont Company, has led the barber chair market since the 1960s. As of now, the company sells three barber chair product lines: Elegance, Crea II, and Gift II. The Elegance is geared towards retro hair salons. On the other hand, the Crea II is intended for modern salons or traditional-themed hairdressers. Finally, the Gift II is marketed for high-end customers.
The Belmont barber chair had its humble beginnings in Japan. Hidenobu Yoshikawa was the man behind this product. In 1931, Takara Chuzo Ltd. started its production of barber chairs. Back then, the company was still called that. Twenty years later, he reached a milestone by launching a hydraulic version of his chair. It was an innovation that prompted the company to reach other markets around the world. In 1956, it established its subsidiary in the United States. In less than five years, another branch was established in London. The company also expanded into other products, such as cosmetics and dental equipment.
Its entry into the US hairdressing supplies market had a tremendous impact on local manufacturers that were already well established. Brands like Emil J. Paidar and Koken already had their fair share of the market when the more modern and less expensive Belmont barber chairs appeared. Inevitably, it made more sense for customers to switch to the new brand. Also, the salons were increasing in an era when the Beatles were going up and Elvis Presley was going down. The hairstyle was simply not something barbers knew how to cut. Of the three companies, only Takara Belmont was prepared to face the new trend.
Local players viewed the competition as unfair and there were efforts to level the playing field. However, the government saw nothing wrong. Koken Barber’s Supply Company was finally sold to Takara Belmont in 1969. At the same time, Emil J. Paidar Company lost most of its market share to the Japanese company.
With the acquisition of the Koken brand, the company paved the way for more barber chair design possibilities. Koken had the patent for the joystick that allowed to control all the functions of the chair by means of a single mechanism. Today, Koken Manufacturing Co. still operates under the umbrella of its parent company, Takara Belmont Corporation.