BVandB: The Meaning Behind the Barber’s Pole

Posted by Oscar Rocha on

The barber’s pole is one of the most iconic symbols around the globe. No matter where you are, if you come across a spiraling pole with the colors red and white, or red, white and blue, you’ll instantly know it’s a barbershop. Now, you may be asking yourself, how the heck did a pole become this iconic?

The barber’s pole journey:

Let's go back to the 1500’s where barber surgeons took care of it all. Haircuts and beard shaves were not their only expertise. Since barber’s worked with sharp tools already, it only made sense for them preformed medical procedures as well. They market their trade by placing a used, bloody bandage hanging off a metal rod outside their business. It was Marketing 101 just to let the village know they treated broken limbs, tooth aches, offered hair cuts, shaved beards, and even preformed blood letting procedures to heal the sick. 

Barber surgeons continued to practice their trade for many years until sanitation was considered. It wasn’t until the end of the 17th century that sanitary laws were created and the trades had to be split up. Dentist were born, doctors took care of the sick, and barbers continued their journey on keeping the world clean, one haircut at a time.

Meaning behind the barber’s pole:

To honor the history behind the barbering trade, the metal rod and bloody bandage was kept as a significance of the trade. It’s no secret that blood, veins, and bandages is the significance of the barber’s pole. The red signifies blood, the blue signifies the veins, and the white signifies the bandages. Although the most tradition colors are red and white, the blue was added to honor America.

Today, the barber’s pole continues to honor its history and entrepreneurship. It’s a universal trade around the world breaking boundaries between different cultures. Styles and techniques may change, but the end of the day, barbers work with the same tools to achieve the same goal.

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