In 1919, Leo J. Wahl redefined the way we perceive personal care by inventing the first electric clipper. Since then WAHL, with a presence in 165 countries, remains at the forefront of developments in the industry, offering innovative, high-quality solutions to the market.
Focusing on “The WAHL Way” philosophy – which is based on providing impeccable customer service, unmatched efficiency and top-quality products – and with more than 1500 employees worldwide, WAHL remains the global standard for integrity, value and efficiency.
Take a look at our company’s history.
Leo J. Wahl used an electromagnetic motor to make a medical massager for his uncle, J. Frank Wahl. After selling them to barbershops, he realized he could improve barber tools using this type of motor. Leo took over his uncle's business and began experimenting with a new electric hair clipper.
In 1919, Leo J. Wahl got patents on his newly developed electromagnetic hair clipper and began manufacturing at the Wahl Manufacturing Company. The clipper was the first one of its kind with a practical drive motor in hand, rather than connected to a separate motor through a flexible shaft.
After receiving a patent on his new hair clipper, on February 2, Leo J. Wahl purchased 100% of the Wahl Manufacturing Company stock and renamed and incorporated the business as the Wahl Clipper Corporation. Growth was rapid, financed from manufacturing earnings and patent royalties.
Wahl created the Silent Giant, a big hair clipper that was much quieter than previous models without sacrificing quality for a good haircut. This change made conversation in the barbershop much easier.
The company installed plastic molding presses, allowing the company to produce almost every component at the Wahl plant. As a result, the professional barbers and beauticians product line expanded and Wahl produced the Silent Dryer, with production approaching 2,000 per day.
Wahl recognized a worldwide demand for barber clippers and began an export effort by building products in voltages and frequencies required for international use. In the early 1950s, Wahl opened a manufacturing facility in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
Leo J. Wahl passed away on May 20, 1957. In his lifetime, he applied for over 100 patents on his various inventions. The company completed its move from 407 E. Third Street to a new, spacious plant on North Locust Street, in Sterling, Illinois, where the company resides today.
The company pioneered another advancement in the industry with the Vac Clipper. These clippers feature a vacuum that picks up hair as it cuts. Trade show crowds were impressed when they witnessed a man get a full haircut without any hair touching his suit.
Wahl begins manufacturing its first universal-type rotary motor clippers. Within a year, the company converted the clippers to the permanent-magnet type and incorporated it into a powerful new animal clipper.
The company created the first cordless and rechargeable battery-operated hair trimmer and marketed it to professionals.
Wahl Introduced a new variable-speed, rare-earth, permanent-magnet motor clipper.
The company used its rechargeable battery technology and invented and produced the world's first successful cordless and rechargeable soldering iron, which also created a new Electronics Division in the company. Within two weeks, this tool captured 90% of the United States market.
The company began manufacturing a full line of foot and back massagers that used the efficient electromagnetic motor to feature controlled vibration and heat.
Wahl introduced the hygienic, battery-operated nose and brow trimmer as another new product.
The company developed the Groomsman, the world's first battery-operated facial hair trimmer. This product created a new and exciting consumer category. New products and sales growth also created a series of building expansions, starting with the purchase of a 17,500 sq. ft. school building.
Created the ZeeCurl, a flat-barrel curling iron for stylists to create Z-shaped curls for texture and body to all types of hair. Committed to international business by opening Wahl Europe, Ltd. as a wholly owned sales, service, and distribution center. The consumer version would follow in 1988.
The Groomsman Beard and Mustache Trimmers personal care line expands into a range of battery and rechargeable products. Wahl purchased tooling and technology for a world-class Austrian shaver, which joined Wahl's men's and Lady Wahl shaver lines.
Wahl used its new DynaFlex Cutting System to mass produce three new electric shaver models. The International Division accelerated growth with foreign trade shows, increasing sales to almost 20% of domestic sales. The company received the coveted Presidential "E" Award for excellence in exporting.
By 1992, the company had added over a total of 150,000 square feet to the building. The debut of The Peanut, a small, lightweight trimmer that weighed only four ounces. The Peanut turned out to be one of the most popular products Wahl ever created.
First time marketing the Custom Shave System, which allowed users a choice of three foil heads for varying degrees of close shaving and comfort. Brought to market many new corded and cordless haircutting and trimming products for professionals and consumers as shorter hairstyles continued worldwide.
Received the Presidential "E Star" Award.
Converted to a computerized inventory control system at the Sterling plant and continued expanding the plant by adding over 130,000 sq. ft., a 40% increase in capacity. Wahl acquired Moser, a German professional hair clippers manufacturer, to merge into a global personal care organization.
Gregory S. Wahl became president of Wahl Clipper, USA, succeeding his father, John F. (Jack) Wahl. He reiterated the company's drive toward globalization and its commitment to serving all consumer and professional customers worldwide in the 21st Century.
Wahl developed the Aero Clipper for NASA astronauts. These clippers were designed to handle temperatures ranging from -58ºF to -122ºF while sucking up hairs as they are clipped.
Wahl’s Aero Clipper was certified for flight and used by NASA astronauts. It was the only product of its kind approved by NASA for use on the International Space Station.
Wahl Clipper Corporation celebrated its 90th anniversary. The company diversified to bring quality and innovation to the professional beauty and barber salon trade, personal consumer care and animal grooming categories. The company introduced the first lithium-ion powered trimmer.
Though the company introduced the first lithium-ion powered trimmer in 2009, 2011 marked the beginning of the era of Lithium Ion at Wahl. This type of battery more effectively charges and keeps the charge longer than ordinary batteries. They guarantee much more power than their predecessors had.
With a 40,000-square-foot corporate headquarters building, Wahl firmly cemented in Sterling for generations to come.
The continued commitment of the Wahl family and the growing number of fourth generation family members working together for the future advancement of the company.
Wahl celebrates 100 years of creating innovative products and services. The company continues as the leader in the industry.
In 2020, WAHL immediately took notice of the increased demand for personal grooming tools and products caused by the pandemic and increased the production of clippers, trimmers, and shavers, while following all safety regulations. As a result, the company helped millions of individuals who - due to COVID-19 - were unable to visit barber shops. WAHL’s main goal for 2021 includes investing R&D and new technologies which will take their products to the next level.