41 inch M339C Rotating Barber Pole Light LED Light US Plug Red & Blue & White

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? WHY ?

A red, white and blue

striped pole means barber


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in medieval times here, barber’s didn’t just cut hair and offer shaves. No, no, no. They were also the local dentist, doctor and surgeon as well, and they were known as barber-surgeons.

“Up until the 19th century barbers were generally referred to as barber-surgeons, and they were called upon to perform a wide variety of tasks. They treated and extracted teeth, branded slaves, created ritual tattoos or scars, cut out gallstones and hangnails, set fractures, gave enemas, and lanced abscesses. Whereas physicians of their age examined urine or studied the stars to determine a patient’s diagnosis, barber-surgeons experienced their patients up close and personal. Many patients would go to their local barber for semi-annual bloodletting, much like you take your car in for a periodic oil change.”

------Elizabeth Roberts

The barber’s pole originated from the rod that the patient gripped to make their veins bulge, thus making them easier to slice open. A brass ball at the top symbolised the basin that collected the blood. The pole’s red and white stripes represent the bloodied bandages, which would be washed and hung to dry on the rod outside the shop. The bandages would twist in the wind, forming the familiar spiral pattern we see on the barber poles of today.

In 1540, a statute was passed that required barbers and surgeons to distinguish their services by the colours of their pole. From that point forward, barbers used blue and white poles, while surgeons used red and white poles. Today, red, white and blue barber poles are often found in the United States, although this may have more to do with the colours of the nation’s flag than anything else. Some interpretations posit that the red represents arterial blood, the blue represents venous blood and the white represents the bandages.

------Dr Lindsey Fitzharris

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