As men we are not always the best a coping with change. A particular challenge for many of us – me included – is losing or thinning of our hair.
About fifteen years ago after a handful of years of denial I bit the bullet and bought a Wahl clipper – which I use to this day – and took my remaining hair back to a Number 1. Thankfully my wife and kids are supportive and say that it genuinely suits me – I think they may just be being kind!
The Wahl Clipper Corporation has been making clippers since the patent was first applied for on October 14th 1919 by Leo J. Wahl for his first electromagnetic hair clippers starting a trend for home grooming which no doubt barber’s shops worldwide have cursed ever since.
Leo Wahl’s journey started at school in Sterling in 1911 when he experimented with vibrating electromagnetic motors. He later went to the University of Illinois where he designed a vibrating medical massager which was produced by his uncle J. Frank Wahl. Leo assisted in sales for his uncle spending time visiting barbershops where he saw a need to improve barber tools. When his uncle was called into service during the Mexican Revolution, Leo Wahl took over the business and started to experiment with a new electric hair clipper.
By the end of 1920, Wahl Manufacturing Company had sold thousands of clippers to barbers all over the United States. The patent was granted to Leo on 2nd February 1921 and Leo changed the company’s name to Wahl Clipper Corporation.
With demand for their clippers ever upwards in 1950 Wahl the company began an export effort manufacturing products with differing voltages for oversea use.
On May 20th 1957 Leo J. Wahl passed away. During his life he’d applied for more than 100 patents on his various inventions with many human and animal grooming products as a result.
By 1967 the company had designed and was marketing to barbers the first cordless/rechargeable battery-operated hair trimmer.
In 1997 Gregory S. Wahl was elected president of Wahl Clipper, USA, succeeding his father, John F. (Jack) Wahl, who continued to serve as CEO.
In 2009, in its 90th year, Wahl introduced the first grooming tool to be powered by a lithium battery – the most technologically advanced rechargeable battery.
Today Wahl Clipper Corporation is still based in Sterling (Illinois) and its products are sold in around 165 countries worldwide. Based upon the success of Wahl’s original clipper – which in many ways is a truly classic icon of Americana – Wahl are justifiably proud of their heritage and innovations that have had worldwide impact.
One small tip – if you plan to use a Wahl clipper – to avoid the Mohecan that can result if you they to trim your hair by yourself – invest in a good hand held mirror or better still get some assistance!
Image from Wahl Clipper Corporation