Barber Shop Innovations: From Flint Stone to Fully Licensed

Barber Shop Innovations: From Flint Stone to Fully Licensed
Friday, July 22, 2016

Barbering is an ancient and time-honored tradition that has sometimes overlapped with the medical profession and at other times has created an economic boom for certain members of society. But, barbering equipment has come a long was as well as the trade itself, with barber's tools tracing back to 5,000 BC and Egyptian nobility.

Fortunately, the evolution of barber's equipment has included legislative action with the safety of the public in mind. Follow us as we take a journey exploring the many innovations in barbering throughout history.

5,000 BC: Stone Cold Cutlery

The earliest known examples of the barber’s craft come from ancient Egypt. 6,000 years ago, the first barbers were actually Egyptian nobles. They used instruments crafted by sharpening flint, oyster shells, or other shapeable sharp stones. Needless to say, getting a haircut has become a much more luxurious experience. 900: Dr. Barber

Jumping forward a few thousand years to the middle ages, barbering became a significantly more refined profession. In fact, barbers from this era were known as barber-surgeons and performed the duties of both trades. This meant that they utilized tools for cutting and styling hair, as well as treating infections, cauterizing wounds, and performing surgeries.

1300: Barber Wisdom (Teeth)

Eventually, barber-surgeons split into two different classes, those who practiced surgery and those who practiced the trade that we contemporarily refer to as barbering. A couple hundred years later in 1450, the barber’s company and surgeon’s guild were united by law so that no one would practice barbering while doing surgery and vice versa. However, barbers were still allowed to practice the sole phase of surgery that involved pulling teeth.

1745: Pole Position

Barbers and surgeons were, once again, separated into different professions. This time, though, barbers kept the iconic barber’s pole, which traditionally features red, white, and blue stripes on it representing blood, bandages, and veins, respectively.

1880: Barber Shop Origins

Around this time we see the emergence of the barber shop as it is commonly imagined in the modern sense. Shops cost approximately $20 to equip and consisted of a straight-backed chair with a headpiece, a basin of water, soap, a brush, and a razor. Shops stocked enough towels to last a week, with towels often being shared by 10 to 12 customers. Yikes!

1897: License to Fill

While you probably wouldn’t want to get a haircut from an unlicensed barber today, up until almost the 20th century there was very little regulation for barbering. In 1897, Minnesota passed legislation for barber licenses and various states followed suit over the next 40 years. Once barbers were regularly licensed and inspected, many previously common diseases practically disappeared from society.

Clearly, the craft has changed quite a bit over the last few thousand years. At Crewners, however, we combine the sterilization practices of the modern world with the style, intrigue, and inventiveness of the past. Our recently renovated shop features luxurious barber chairs that are comfortable as new but still reminiscent of barber tradition, and our professionally licensed staff know how to give you the best shave or haircut you could ask for. Book an appointment online with us today, and make those 30 minutes yours.



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