Hailing from the Ancient Egyptian times when the barbers were regarded as esteemed as shaman, the profession has been one of the most respected from the very beginning. The Egyptians always believed that the demonic spirits could enter the body through their hair, and thus, regular cuts weren’t vanity, but a ritual.
Their status grew over the middle Ages where their list of skills and roles included surgery, different forms of dentistry like teeth pulling, leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the likes apart from making one presentable. They were even capable of spinal manipulation. The standard surgeons suffered a lot in their presence, their skills limited to that of performing surgery and as result, were paid much less.
How Did Scientific Discoveries Influence the Barbers’ Profession?
The invention of the colored advertising devices brought more business than possible and gave the barbers a solid identity with the barber pole. The colors of red, blue, and white were instantly recognizable but led to several explanations. The most plausible one was where the colors were related to medical bloodletting, as the blue stood for the veins, red for the split fluid, and white, most aptly so, for the bandages.
However, the barbers’ field with the tri-color didn’t last long as the 1540s brought a split in the colors by the English Parliament. A merger had happened between the Barbers’ Company and the Fellowship of surgeons leading to the formation of the Company of Barbers and surgeons. The regulations specified by both the parties stated that the surgeons wouldn’t be allowed to shave others or cut hair as long as the barbers wouldn’t practice surgery.
The extraction of teeth and dentistry, though, was kept common among the two parties. As a result, the barbers were left with a blue and white on their advertising pole, whereas the surgeons kept the red keeping the public aware of which is what. The barber pole became a symbol of the American patriotism as well, where all the three colors were used making it a universally recognized symbol.
The Other Side of the Story You Probably Didn’t Know About
The only distortion is the one caused by the Asian countries, where the barber pole often symbolizes a brothel. The naïve tourists are mistaken quite a lot when looking for a decent haircut.
Not only as a group of caregivers, barbers have given the men a place to gather and discuss everything from sports to politics to society, in the security of their barbershops. The shops became an escape ground for the men from the demanding wives and girlfriends and give them a bit of masculine company.
The gambler Arnold Rothstein was quite famous for making use of many tip-off agents to win several gambles. Be it horses, motor cars, or any sporting event, he handled it all while getting a haircut at the nearest barber shop. In fact, many barbers scored their month’s pay just by subtly tipping off the man and helping him with his gambles.
However, the barbershops lost their charm for a while and seemed like losing a battle against the metro-sexual hair salons. But they’re now getting back in the game, giving the men a good old fashioned shave and a cut, along with an escape from the world.