Matthew Andis and the electric hair clipper | Local News I Racine County Eye

An ambitious toolmaker — with a better idea — has made it possible for people and animals to look their best for nearly 100 years. Matthew Andis (1883-1976) emigrated to the U.S. from Hungary in 1908 and arrived in Racine in 1912. After working as a toolmaker at Mitchell Motor Car Co., he opened a tool and die shop in 1918 with partners John Oster and Henry Meltzer. The shop’s work included tooling to produce blades for a hand-operated hair clipper. Around 1921, Andis developed a hair clipper powered by a small electric motor. He sold his share of the existing business to his partners and launched the Andis Magnetic Clipper in 1922. This small, hand-held electric clipper was lighter and delivered high performance. Operating from rented space on Lake Avenue, Andis sold his clippers door-to-door to Racine area barbers. The product quickly caught on. Andis opened a new manufacturing plant on Layard Avenue in 1925 and incorporated as the Andis Clipper Co. in 1928. Matthew Andis continued with more innovations introducing an electric animal clipper, a beard-specific trimmer and an electric trimmer for finishing haircuts. By the 1940s, Andis Clipper had grown to become one of the wor...

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