Mathew Andis

Mathew Andis


A toolmaker by trade, Mr. Andis emigrated to the United States in 1908, and settled in Racine, Wis. He soon established himself as a partner in a tool and die making concern. One of their customers was a small eastern manufacturer of hand-operated hair clippers, who went into bankruptcy, leaving Andis with marketless dies on his hands. Rather than junk all the dies, he bought the handles and molds from the defunct firm and started making hand clippers on his own.

He took in two partners, John Oster and Henry Meltzer, and the company became Andis O.M. Company. In 1922, anxious to have the time to develop new products, Andis sold out to his partners. Electric clippers at that time were unwieldy, and were driven by a metal cable connected to an overhead electric motor. Andis eventually perfected a small, hand-held, self-contained electric clipper.

It was an immediate success. After WWII, Andis continued developing new models as men's hairstyles evolved. The company has resisted diversification, and today his son and grandchildren still operate the company, and it is still the world leader in strictly professional barber clippers. He was inducted into the Barber Hall of Fame in 1970. 

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