The History of Electric Hair Clippers

Every barber has at least one pair of electric hair clippers in his arsenal. It’s difficult to imagine what these professionals would do without this invaluable tool. However, there was a time when clippers were uncomplicated manual devices without a motor, making a simple haircut a cumbersome task at best.

The first manual clipper was developed in the 19th century by Serbian barber, Nikola Bizumic. Bizumic. This invention was a hand-held tool used by squeezing and releasing a pair of handles. Tired of his peasant lifestyle of breeding pigs, Bizumic decided to flee to the city of Ruma where he met barber Petar Javonovic, who was in need of an apprentice. Bizumic not only found a new career, but his invention quickly spread. Barbers used these tools to cut hair short and relatively fast, by early century standards. His unique creation ultimately brought change to the barbering world.

The electric hair clippers work the same way as the manual variety, but they are driven by an electric motor which makes the blades oscillate from side to side. The first pair of electric clippers were invented by Leo J. Wahl. As a high school junior at Sterling High School, Wahl experimented with a vibrating electromagnetic motor. Later as an engineering student at the University of Illinois, Leo Wahl improved his designs by creating a vibrating medical massager for his uncle J. Frank Wahl. Frank Wahl opened a manufacturing plant to produce and sell Leo Wahl’s massager. The young inventor sold the massagers to barbershops, all while recognizing the need to improve upon the industry’s current tools. When his uncle was drafted to the Mexican Revolution, Leo Wahl used the opportunity to take over the manufacturing business and experiment on a new electric hair clipper design.

In 1919, Leo Wahl applied for patents on his newly developed electromagnetic hair clipper, and before long, the clippers were being mass produced at Wahl Manufacturing Company. It was the first practical clipper with the drive motor in the hand, rather than connected to a separate motor through a flexible shaft. Leo Wahl concentrated on working directly with barbers to improve his hair clippers. By 1920, his factory had manufactured and sold thousands of clippers to barbers all over the United States.

After nearly a decade in the making, Wahl patented his final design of electric clippers in 1921. He went on to purchase 100% of the Wahl Manufacturing Company stock and renamed the business Wahl Clipper Corporation. Until his death in 1957, Wahl worked with barbers all across the nation for input to design more convenient and efficient hair clippers and introduced other hair care tools along the way.

Electric Clippers Today

Hair clippers are more known for their use in barber shops. However, they have become very popular for at-home use and are seen as an essential tool in proper male grooming – as clippers can cut both hair and beards. Many clippers are intended to accommodate thick, coarse hair and are generally simple to use. Different adjustments can allow the user to cut their hair to any desired length.


Hair clippers are also great alternatives to scissors. Instead of going out to a barber shop to get a quick cut, one can easily purchase their own set of clippers and cut their hair in the comforts of their own home. That means saving a lot of time and money from being spent in the barbershop. This makes electric clippers a sound investment for professionals and at-home enthusiasts.

Customers looking to execute a barbershop-quality cut on their own can purchase professional electric clippers. These tools enable the user to maneuver easily for more complex hairstyles. Luckily, there are a variety of electric clippers at a number of price points that can address a plethora of consumer and professional needs.



Meet Khalia
Writing has always been in Khalia’s future, as she’s been writing since elementary school. Oddly enough, she graduated from the University of West Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. Yet, she chose to ditch that career path to pursue her passion in writing. When she’s not writing short stories, she’s doing nail art and listening to Kpop.

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