Brief History facts of BARBERING.

In the Middle Ages, hair was not the only thing that barbers cut. The also performed surgery, tooth extractions, and bloodletting. French authorities drew a fine distinction between academic surgeons (surgeons of the long robe) and barber surgeons (surgeons of the short robe). The latter were sufficiently accepted by the fourteenth century to have their own guild, and in 1505, were admitted to the faculty of the University of Paris. As an indication of their medical importance, Harry Perelman points out that Ambroise Pare, "The father of modern surgery and the greatest surgeon of the Renaissance," began as a barber surgeon. 


The barber pole, as a symbol of the profession, is a legacy to bloodletting. The barber surgeon's necessities for this curious custom, were a staff for the patient to grasps (so the veins on the arm would stand out sharply), a basin to hold the leeches and catch blood, and a copious supply of linen bandages. After the operation was completed, the bandages would be hung on the staff and sometimes placed outside as an advertisement. Twirled by the wind, they would form a red & white spiral pattern that was later adopted for painted poles. The earliest poles were surmounted by a leech basin, which in time, was transformed into a ball. 


One interpretation of the colors of the barber pole was that Red represented the blood, Blue, the veins, and white, the bandages; which has been retained by the modern Barber-Stylist.