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Andis Company, Inc.

Andis Company, Inc.


1800 Renaissance Boulevard
Sturtevant, Wisconsin 53177
U.S.A.
Telephone: (262) 884-2600
Toll Free: (800) 558-9441
Fax: (262) 884-1100
Web site: http://www.andis.com

Private Company
Founded: 1922 as Andis Clipper Company
Employees: 410
Sales: $23.3 million (2005)
NAIC: 333319 Other Commercial and Service Industry Machinery Manufacturing; 333111 Farm Machinery and Equipment Manufacturing; 335211 Electric Houseware and Household Fan Manufacturing

Andis Company, Inc., is a leading designer and manufacturer of electric clippers and other tools for professional barbers and hair stylists. The company provides several lines of electric clippers and trimmers in various sizes for precision and maneuverability, as well a number of blade options for different hair and beard cutting and trimming requirements. These products are sold under the AGX Experience, BRG+, and other names. Andis also offers a variety of styling tools for the professional beauty and consumer markets, such as hair dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners. Animal care products, such as the Endurance line, include a number of clippers and trimmers which address the diverse needs for grooming horses, cattle, sheep, and pets. In addition, Andis produces wall-mounted hair dryers, steam irons, and four-cup coffeemakers for the hotel and consumer markets. Andis products are sold worldwide through the company's offices in Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and Hong Kong.

FOUNDER'S PROFESSION AS TOOLMAKER LEADS TO PATENTED CLIPPERS

Matthew Andis's involvement in the manufacture of electric clippers originated from his profession as a tool and die maker. In his native Austria, Andis apprenticed as a toolmaker and attained the rank of journeyman at the age of 16. In 1908, at the age of 25, Andis immigrated to the United States and worked as a toolmaker in New York City. After his wife and children arrived in the country, the family slowly moved westward, living in Pittsburgh and Detroit before settling in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1912. With two partners, Andis opened a tool and die shop, Andis O.M. Company, in 1918. As it happened, a bankrupt customer left dies for handheld hair clippers at the partnership. Rather than let them fall into disuse, Andis acquired from the bankrupt company the remaining materials needed to produce clippers. While working on clipper blades, Andis seized upon the idea to develop a self-contained, electric-powered clipper. At the time, the only such clippers available were bulky in size and powered by a cable or hand. Andis experimented with the idea of a compact clipper powered by an electromagnetic motor. He produced several prototypes and tested them rigorously. Then, in 1921, he constructed an electronic clipper which set a precedent for speed and practicality. Moreover, its compact size and ease of use made it a popular choice for barbers.

From the beginning, Andis involved the whole family. Production of the clippers took place in the basement of the family home. Andis's wife, Anna, wound coils while other family members, including young sons Matthew G., or "M. G.," and Ernest, assembled the final product. Going door-to-door, Matthew sold the clippers to barbershops in and around Racine. Barbers greeted the product with enthusiasm and the company expanded quickly. In 1922 Andis sold his share of the tool and die shop to his partners and established the Andis Clipper Company.

After borrowing capital for expansion, Andis relocated production to a small industrial building in Racine and implemented new manufacturing processes which increased production capacity. As demand for Andis electric hair clippers increased, production lagged behind sales. Consequently, the company built a new, 16,000-square-foot facility in 1926. Construction of the $50,000 facility reflected Andis's concern for the quality of work life for his employees. At the time Andis said, "We want our employees to feel at ease when they work. There is no one standing over them to see that they keep constantly busy. We don't want to make wage slaves of them," he told the Racine Review, in May 1928.

Andis expanded nationwide through the development of the company's team of sales representatives. For international sales, the company hired distributors in Europe. By 1928, Andis's patented electric clippers were sold worldwide. The company became the largest producer of electric clippers for professional barbers, as well as a world leader in clipper technology. Eventually, the founder's son Ernest would oversee the sales organization as president of Electric Tool.

CONSTANT CHANGE AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Andis continually improved on the electric clipper technology, developing a succession of new products. For instance, to resolve problems of fluctuating electric power and voltage, a common problem during the 1920s, Andis designed a motor clipper. The Universal electric clipper used a motor with an adjustable, wheel-operated blade. Another improvement resulted in the Andis Master Magnetic clipper, which included a two-speed coil and high-low power switch. The two speeds allowed barbers to adjust the clipper to variable power availability. Other new products included the Andis Master Deluxe, Junior, Thinner, Surgical, and 400 clippers. New peripheral products included the New Era Shaver and a clipper for large animal grooming, as well as products unrelated to personal grooming, a malted milk mixer and a vibrating massager.

Like many manufacturers during World War II, Andis Clipper Company confronted a shortage of materials due to the need for war-related production. As the factory shifted production toward the war effort, it became a tool and die shop, producing equipment that manufactured ammunition belts, wrenches, thermal overload relays, field generator parts, telescopic sight parts, and a number of other specialized military parts.

After the war, Andis resumed development of new clippers, as well as trimmers and razors. The popularity of the military-style "butch" haircut stimulated sales of electric clippers, and Andis designed a variety of clipper sizes and styles. A firm believer in brand marketing, Andis sold different products under specific names, such as the Chief, Junior, DeLux, Cadet, Improved Master, Power Chief, and Detachable Clipper. The company began to produce electric shavers as well, introducing the Whisker Electric Shaver. In creating and producing these products, Andis used new materials and applied new manufacturing technologies developed during the war.

COMPANY PERSPECTIVES


For more than 77 years, Andis has produced the finest quality clippers and trimmers for the barber and beauty industry to assure the highest level of professional results. Manufacturing the majority of clippers made in the US, Andis also offers a complete line of quality clippers for animal grooming for small and large animalsdogs, horses, cattle, sheep.

Family involvement in the business continued throughout the company's history. M. G. Andis was instrumental in the development of men's shaving products during the 1950s. With a degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University, M. G. developed several patented products, such as the Outliner Trimmer and Edger electric shavers, which handled all aspects of beard management. M. G. also managed various aspects of the company. After holding positions of factory superintendent in 1933 and general manager in 1939, M. G. became company president in 1954, and chairman of the board in 1965, when the founding Andis retired.

During the economic expansion of the postwar period, Andis Clipper Company experienced tremendous growth. As such, the company expanded its manufacturing facility several times. In 1966, the company added 12,000 square feet of product space to its Racine facility, to reach 67,000 square feet. By 1968, the number of employees rose to 110.

A third generation of Andis family management began when Matthew L. Andis, son of M. G., became president and general manager in 1971, after several years on the board and as executive vice-president. Matthew L. encouraged Andis Company's development of animal grooming products which addressed the variety of special needs for grooming horses, dogs, sheep, and cattle. Products included heavy-duty motor clippers, lightweight models with adjustable blades, ear trimmers, and quiet running clippers that did not frighten animals. Products for large animal grooming included four styles of motor clippers sold under the names Andis Groom, Tack Mate, Cordless R400, and Power Groom.

Andis Company expanded in several directions. The company began to make a variety of stylist tools, such as curling irons and the Elite and Electro hair blow-dryers. New products for professional barbers included the Cordless T-Liner Trimmer, T-Edger, and T-Outliner, which included special blades designed for a close shave. Andis added a line of shampoos and conditioners, and hair sprays for men. Also, the company broadened its reach in international markets, opening a distribution office in Hong Kong in 1978, and beginning production in China through a subsidiary. To reflect the diversification of the company's product lines, Andis Clipper Company became simply Andis Company.

ENTERING THE CONSUMER MARKET, APPLYING NEW TECHNOLOGIES

With several new product lines and continual development of existing product lines, Andis Company expanded its production capacity and office space in 1997. This time, the company relocated outside of Racine, to nearby Sturtevant, building a new production and office facility. All facets of the business, including product development and design, were relocated to the 107,000-square-foot facility built on a 14-acre lot in a business park. The facility was completely air-conditioned and stocked state-of-the-art technology.

Because many of its products were useful to consumers as well as to professional barbers and stylists, Andis Company began to develop personal grooming products for both men and women to use at home. The company introduced several products for the consumer markets, such as turbo-power blow dryers, electric curling irons, and hair care accessories, as well as electric clippers and trimmers. In 1997, Andis introduced home grooming kits which provided everything a consumer needed, including an instructional video. For home pet grooming, Andis Company introduced the Adjustable Blade Pet Clipper Kit. This included six attachment combs, clipper blade oil, and an instructional video on basic grooming, such as leg and body clipping and ear, face, and tail trimming.

New technology played a significant role in the development of new products. Andis Company designed ceramic parts that minimized heat retention during product operation, especially when comparing ceramic blades to steel blades used in electric clippers. In hair dryers, ceramic parts produced an infrared heat that maintained an even temperature, rather than an increasingly hot, air flow. The infrared heat dried hair from the inside out, helping hair to retain moisture and preventing split ends and frizzy hair. Similarly, ionic technology in hair dryers dispersed water molecule clusters into fine particles that could be absorbed by the hair shaft. This protected the natural oils needed for healthy, shiny hair. In 2004, Andis combined the ceramic and ionic technology in the Professional 1875, a high wattage hair dryer.

KEY DATES


1922:
Matthew Andis develops the first successful electric clipper.
1926:
Andis Clipper Company builds manufacturing and office facility in Racine, Wisconsin.
1928:
Andis products are distributed worldwide.
1954:
Founder's son, M. G. Andis, becomes company president.
1971:
A third generation takes the lead, as Matthew L. Andis becomes president.
1997:
Andis Company builds a new office and manufacturing facility in nearby Sturtevant.
2004:
New technologies emerge in several Andis products.

Another proprietary technology, the pivot motor, was comprised of fewer moving parts; thus it provided durability with minimal maintenance. Compared to the magnetic motor that powered most of the company's electric clippers, the pivot motor did not require oiling or power screw adjustments. Also, it had four times the power of a magnetic motor. Andis Company launched the technology in 2004, with the introduction of the Speedmaster Clipper and Pivot Pro Trimmer, available separately or in a combination package.

In 2006, Andis offered a number of products in new designs and with new technology. Andis developed the bright pink Lola clipper-trimmer, which weighed less than four ounces and was less than five inches long. The Elevate line of styling tools, set in metallic red, included the nano-silver infused gold-plating for curling irons and flat irons (hair straighteners). The material provided a finish that did not tarnish and prevented bacteria growth. With the inclusion of tourmaline crystals in hair dryers, Andis Company sought to improve on moisture retention in the hair follicles. By emitting negative ions, the use of tourmaline crystals sealed the cuticle layer of the hair to preserve hair oils. Andis Company offered tourmaline crystals in combination with ceramic parts or ionic technology or both, the last in the Tourmaline Hyper DC hair dryer. Other special finishes included black chrome, black metallic, and colorwaves, with shifting hues of deep, metallic purple and blue.

Andis developed new products with crossover appeal to hotels and the consumer market. The company had been producing wall-mounted hair dryers for both markets for several years. In 2005, Andis added a steam iron and a four-cup coffeemaker, both with automatic shut-off.

Andis promoted its products through regional advertising and through educators who demonstrated the company's products at trade shows. In 2006, Andis invited the cast of The Shop, an MTV reality show set at Mr. Rooney's Barbershop in Queens, New York, to the International Beauty Show in New York City. The show's crew participated in demonstrating new cuts and styles with Andis educators. The crew used Andis clippers in this nationally recognized show. At the trade show they signed autographs and helped to attract a crowd to the Andis booth. The hullabaloo increased sales.

Mary Tradii

PRINCIPAL COMPETITORS

Sunbeam Products, Inc; Wahl Clipper Corporation.

FURTHER READING

"Andis Adds Mustache Trimmer," HFN, April 28, 1997, p. 72.

"Andis Clipper Picks Officers," Racine Journal Times, October 12, 1954.

"The Andis Company," HFN, February 17, 1997, p. 46.

"Andis Company: A History of Quality," Racine Journal Times, January 29, 2005, p. 11.

"Andis Introduces Power Razor and Trimmer," HFN, February 22, 1999, p. 38.

"Andis Joins Brand Names," Racine Journal Times, December 12, 1948.

"Andis Takes Pet, Personal Grooming to Next Level," HFN, March 4, 1996, p. 44.

"For Keeping in Trim," HFN, February 9, 1998, p. 13.

"Hot Product Prospects, Personal Trimmer Set," HFN, September 7, 1998, p. 35.

"Incoming: Racine, Wis.Andis Co.," HFN, July 8, 1996, p. 42.

"Matthew L. Andis Named Clipper Company President," Racine Journal Times, February 20, 1971.

"Owner of Clipper Company Considers Welfare of Employees in Modern Shop," Racine Journal Times, May 10, 1928.

Sumner Coon, Laura, "Andis Seeks Spot to Grow," Racine Journal Times, June 4, 1996, p. 4B.

Velasco, Catherine Ann, "It's a Hairy Business," Racine Journal Times, April 27, 1997.

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