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History of an Icon: The Barbershop

Believe it or not, the first notation of barber history dates back to as early as 3500 BC. The word “barber” comes from the Latin word “barba,” meaning “beard.” Ancient civilizations believed that spirits entered people through the hair on their heads and faces. Ideology held that only by cutting a person’s hair could these evil spirits be eliminated. For this reason, barbers were held in high esteem.

At their beginnings, barbers were known for much more than cutting hair. By the middle ages, they acted as surgeons, dentists, and religious officials as well. The famed barber pole that we still see today harkens back to a time when barbers were expected to engage in “bloodletting” to heal people by releasing illnesses from the body. The red, blue and white ribbons represent blood, veins, and bandages. As of 1747, barbers were no longer allowed to perform surgical procedures, but the barber pole had become an enduring symbol. Today, the barber pole embodies the skill, workmanship, and originality of today’s barbers.

In 1893, the first barber college opened in Chicago, Illinois, followed by two more barber colleges in Iowa in 1899 and 1900. These schools offered “training, education, and professionalism to the world of facial hair trimming,” bringing about a new and successful industry.

Around the early 1900s, barbershops began to exude a town hall kind of feel – a place for men to socialize, hear the daily news, and gossip with one another. Over the course of the following decades, barbers became recognized as professionals who could trim men’s hair and treat disorders of the skin and scalp. As techniques and tools have advanced throughout the years, the camaraderie and self-care that comes from barbershops remains a staple. Not only that, but the aspiration of men to look and feel good about themselves has carried on, helping to boost the industry today. In fact, the industry’s worth is expected to grow to more than $26 billion by 2020.

Though origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt, barbershops continue to withstand the test of time. Now including trims, razor shaves, beard care and more, barbershops offer a luxurious experience that goes far beyond the traditional haircut. For more information on available services that fit your individualized needs, give Main Street Barbershop a call at 630-968-8009 or make an appointment with one of our experienced staff members online today!https://mainstreetbarb.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/30216.jpg