The Louis Hanson Company wasn’t solely a barber chair manufacturer, but it was generally a well known furniture maker in Chicago. The owner, Louis Hanson, is a Danish immigrant. Established in 1883, the company produced picture frames during its early years. Later on, it expanded to other furniture such as mirrors. At some point, it decided to go into the barber’s supply business by designing its own barber chair.
Not much is known about this company, but a comprehensive biography of Louis Hanson has been posted on the Newberry website. It gives us an idea as to who the man behind the Louis Hanson barber chairs was.
Louis Hanson was born in Denmark on September 16, 1843. He was 22 when he decided to move to the United States to make his mark. He lived in Maine for a year, where he found work at a picture frame factory. At that time, he earned one dollar for every day that he worked. He then moved to Boston where he stayed for another year doing the same job. It wasn’t until 1867 that he came to Chicago and began his amazing career.
He was a notable example of someone who worked smart, took risks and rose from poverty to wealth. With all the lessons learned from the various factories that he worked for throughout the years, he finally started his own business in 1871 using his own savings. To make ends meet, he partnered with David Goodwillie to make picture frames, a skill he mastered after years of work in the production line. In 1877, he bought out his partners to take full control of the company. The business grew under his leadership. It also established several factory departments for mirrors, moldings and barber chairs. But the company’s growth wasn’t without trials. In 1880, it suffered huge losses when the entire factory, along with its tools and machinery, burned to the ground. Within three days, a new and larger plant was acquired in a different location.
In 1898, the business reached a milestone by exporting barbers’ furniture to Johannesburg, South Africa. However, its main market was really in Maine up to California. The company’s products were popular across the country.
Although Louis Hanson barber chairs weren’t as innovative and flamboyant as its competitors in that era, there are still a lot of hardcore collectors willing to pay top dollar for an early 1900’s model in good condition. These days, it’s hard to come across one, though. Due to the manufacturer not really focused on barber’s supply, probably only a limited number of them exist.
My Louis Hanson barber chair, seat, armrests, headrest with roll paper and kick plate all made of wood in good condition. Upholstery is red leather in good condition. Everything works great and has leather razor sharpener, original
and needs nothing. Very nice chair can’t find year but thinking early nineteen hundred. Consider selling looking for value. I can send pictures
Tengo un sillon Louis Hanson de Roble en muy buen estado y con su chapa original de la compania . El tallado a mano en optimas condiciones ! Puedo enviar fotos !
I have a fairly early Louis Hanson oak barber chair which is missing it’s headrest. Any leads on finding one would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Dave from Alberta Canada.
I just found a Louis Hanson Barbershop chair in really good preserved state. in Pennsylvania. Bought it from a local pinball machine restorer and seller who got it from an estate sale. He said the owner was an old retired barber in his late 90s who left it. Solid Oak w preserved finish, just needs a new upholstery, to repair one wood crack on the calf rest and to solder a piece on the yolk. Been looking for some historical information on these chairs and present day value. An old 1988 publication of the Barbershop Collection book states going for $1500 unrestored and $3000 restored, added value if it contains a porcelain base, which mine does. If anyone has photos, information, data, whatsoever please kindly pass it forward to [email protected]. Thank you in advance.
I have an INDEPENDENCE Iron plate on sale, in case anyone is needing this spare part.
We have what we believe is an early 1920’s Louis Hanson barber chair that’s red with white porcelain. All parts are there and in good condition. How do we find out what it’s worth?