Koken Barber Chairs

Posted 7/27/2014

When you step into The Barber Den, the first thing you will likely notice is that the walls are covered with sports memorabilia. Once you’re greeted by the barbers, however, you will see what makes this a truly vintage barber shop. 

Koken Barber Chairs

Take a look at the chairs. We use authentic Koken barber chairs, made from iron and steel construction with sleek porcelain armrests and trim. Manufactured in the early 1900’s in St. Louis, Missouri, these chairs still have working hydraulics and reclining backs. They were designed for comfort, integrity and classic style.

Ernest Koken is the man behind the modern day barber, stylist and dental chair. He came to the United States from Germany as a youth, and while working for a company that made custom painted ceramic shaving mugs, he designed a reclining back for barber chairs to make shaving easier. A decade later, he patented the hydraulic lift design and joystick control that barber chairs still employ. Prior to that, chairs sat on a screw-type base that could be spun around to raise or lower to the desired height.  

Koken started his own company, Koken Barber Supply in St. Louis, and became one of the top manufacturers of barber chairs and supplies. Ernest Koken died in 1907 and his son took over the business until the late 1950’s, when the business was acquired by a competitor, Takara Belmont Company. The Koken brand is still being produced, in Takara Belmont’s new Koken Legacy model.


The Koken Barber Supply building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in St. Louis, MO.

Koken Barber Supply

By Parker Botanical (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons