A Brief History of Leo Wahl

In News by

The road which lead to the creation of Wahl Clipper Corporation began when Sterling High School student, Leo J. Wahl experimented with a vibrating electromagnetic motor in 1911. Later as an engineering student at the University of Illinois, Leo Wahl designed a vibrating medical massager for his uncle J. Frank Wahl, who began manufacturing the massagers in a small plant in Sterling, Illinois. Leo spent his spare time selling these massagers to barbershops, where he recognized the need to improve barber tools. When his uncle was called into service during the Mexican Revolution, Leo Wahl took over the manufacturing business and began experimenting on a new electric hair clipper.

On October 14 1919, Leo J. Wahl applied for patents on his newly developed electromagnetic hair clipper, and manufacturing began at the 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. By the end of 1920, his factory had manufactured and sold thousands of of clippers to barbers all over the United States. In these early years, Mr. Wahl concentrated on working directly with barbers to improve the efficiency and convenience of the clipper.

On February 2 1921, Leo Wahl, having received a patent on his new clipper, purchased 100% of the Wahl Manufacturing Company stock and renamed and incorporated the business as Wahl Clipper Corporation. Growth was rapid, financed from manufacturing earnings and patent royalties.

Learn more of the 98+ year history of Wahl Clipper Corporation here.