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Barber Pole

Barber history

This is a universally recognized symbol of barbering. The origins of the barber pole can be traced back to the middle ages. Hundreds of years ago, barbers didn’t just cut hair and trim beards they also worked as dentists and surgeons, providing their services to poorer people who couldn’t afford to see a physician.

In those days if you were unlucky enough to get a sore tooth or some kind of illness, a barber was often the only option for treatment. Medical care was fairly primitive back then, and even simple procedures were risky.

The red and white stripes of the barber pole originated from a practice known as bloodletting. This practice involved drawing blood from the patient, in an attempt to cure them of diseases and infections. This method was used to treat everything from common colds to deadly diseases back in the middle ages.

The bloody bandages associated with bloodletting inspired the red and white stripes, while the barber pole itself symbolizes an instrument people gripped onto during the procedure to encourage blood flow. Barbers would place the barber pole outside their barbershop, to let customers know they were open for business.

Many modern barber poles have a blue stripe, which some historical sources cite as a tribute to the colors of the American flag. In Europe, the blue stripe was meant to differentiate barbers from doctors, as the two professions gradually began to grow apart.

Men’s grooming business has come a long way since then but the barber pole still perseveres an iconic representation of the trade world wide.