Belmont barber chairs have been in existence since the early 20th century. They are popular for being elegant and cost effective at the same time. Their manufacturer, the Takara Belmont Company, has been leading the barber chair market since the 1960’s. As of now, the company sells three barber chair product lines: Elegance, Crea II and Regalo II. The Elegance is geared towards retro barber shops. On the other hand, the Crea II is intended for modern salons or barber shops with a traditional theme. Finally, the Regalo II is marketed for high end clients.
The Belmont barber chair had its humble beginnings in Japan. Hidenobu Yoshikawa was the man behind this product. In 1931, Takara Chuzo Ltd. began its production of barber chairs. Back then, the company was still named as such. Twenty years later, it reach a milestone by releasing a hydraulic version of its chair. It was an innovation that prompted the company to reach out to other markets around the world. By 1956, it established its subsidiary in the United States. In less than five years, another branch in London was set up. The company expanded to other products too, such as cosmetics and dental equipment.
It’s entry into the US barber supply market had a tremendous impact on the 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 trendy and less costly Belmont barber chairs came in. Inevitably, it made more sense for clients to switch to the new brand. In addition, salons were rising in an era where The Beatles are going up and Elvis Presley is going down. The hairstyle simply wasn’t something that barbers knew how to cut. Out of the three companies, only Takara Belmont was prepared to face the new trend.
The local players saw the competition as unfair, and there were efforts to level the playing field. However, the government did not see anything wrong. Koken Barber’s Supply Company eventually sold out to Takara Belmont in 1969. At the same time, Emil J. Paidar Company lost most of its market share to the Japanese firm.
With the acquisition of the Koken brand, the company effectively paved the way for more barber chair design possibilities. Koken held the patent for the joystick lever which allowed control for all functions of the chair to be operated by a single mechanism. Today, Koken Manufacturing Co. still operates under the umbrella of its parent company, Takara Belmont Corporation.