Barbers Chair

Koken Barber Supply Co.circa 1920

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Single pedestal swivel barbers chair on circular chrome and white enamel base with pivoting footrest, white enamelled arms, green leather upholstered circular seat, square backrest with rounded top and padded headrest; chromed metal footrest.

This barbers chair was used by male and female politicians from around 1960 in various locations at Provisional Parliament House. The chair was moved to Australian Parliament House in 1988 and remained in service until the early 1990s. Interviews with hairdresser Lizzie Scott highlight the intimacy of working at Provisional Parliament House and the everyday interactions between staff and politicians.

The barbers chair was manufactured by Koken Barber Supply Co. in St Louis, Missouri in the United States of America. The company was a large supplier of barbers’ equipment from the late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century. Koken barbers chairs were considered ‘state-of-the art’, being the first to incorporate a hydraulic lifting mechanism to enable them to be easily raised and lowered. The technology was labour-saving for barbers and became part of the barber shop experience for customers.

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  • Title: Barbers Chair
  • Creator: Koken Barber Supply Co.
  • Date: circa 1920
  • Location: St Louis, Missouri, USA
  • View on MoAD website: See Collection record
  • Medium: Chromed metal; enamelled metal; leather; hydraulic fluid in base column
  • Dimensions: 730 (w) x 1230 (h) x 1100 (d) mm