Pulling Teeth at the Barber: The History of the Barber Pole

I was in the barber shop recently, just watching the ole pole spin while I was pondering life and listening to the scissors snip away. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that I could get a whole list of medical procedures handled in that same chair, it was really an incredibly convenient set up.

But then modern medicine came along and now, you know, you have to come to me to get your teeth worked on.

Anyway, I found a neat article about the colors on that barber pole and how they’re related to dentistry. It was really very enlightening.

Long, long ago and far away, if you had a toothache, you’d go to the barber because there wasn’t really such a thing as dentistry as a separate profession. While you were there, you could also get your broken arm set, that nasty rash treated and some bloodletting done for your bad case of plague. Why am I bringing this up? Well, I was reminded of an article about the colors of a barber pole that I read on the History Channel’s website.

The colors, as it turns out, aren’t just there to make you think of peppermint sticks and American flags. The red is to advertise bloodletting and the white is to let you know they’ll also bandage you up. The white should be something about pulling teeth, but hey, what do I know about being a pre-modern barber? Anyway, this is the article I was reading, you should check it out.

Source: http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/why-are-barber-poles-red-white-and-blue

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