Barber Pole – The Bloody Short Details


History of the Barber Pole



The Barber pole and its origin might shock you in how it came about.  Barbering is probably the most ancient of crafts. Barbering is dated in history 6000 years before Christ. Barbering was just not cutting and shaving hair, it was a conglomeration of many crafts.  Barbers jobs description also included, surgery (blood letting), medication and dentistry. In these times, if you were a barber, you were called a Barber Surgeon and were the most respected of person among the people other than the royalty families.


The Barber Pole; with its red, blue and white stripes. How did these colors come about? There was a pole the patients would hold onto when they were bloodletting.  This pole had a brass basin at the top where the leeches were kept and the bottom of the pole is where the blood drained. After the Barbers were finished bloodletting, they would place the bloody white towels outside their shop for advertisement. With the winds, the bloody towels would wrap around the column in front of the store.   In 1163, the Council of Tours, decided to separate the surgeons from the barbers. The surgeons/dentist would wear long white robes and the barbers would wear short white robe. It wasn’t until 1210, the Barber definition was determined by the College de Saint-Come et Saint Damien in Paris, France. Surgeons had a red and white pole and Barbers had a blue and white pole. It is said the blue represents the veins. Here in America, we see the pole with blue and red stripes, most likely Americans wanted to be different than our European counterparts.


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