The Bloody Origin of The Barber Pole


Everyone has seen a barber pole in one point in their lives. Whether in real life or in a movie or cartoon, the red, white and occasionally blue spiraling tube is actually known worldwide – it is used in North America, and all over Asia to represent hair salons, and um, brothels, they are used as a sign for brothels.


Which as you may know, are slightly different businesses than barber shops.

Everyone knows that the barber pole is a symbol for a barber shop, but did you know it is used to describe about 25 other things? Things from ichthyology to space flight, the barber pole has somehow become a universal symbol for pretty much everything.

But where did the barber pole come from you ask? That’s a good question, especially seeing as how the title of this post indicates that I am going to tell you what the origin on the barber pole is. Well, as it turns out, the barber pole has been used since the medieval times. However, back then, they didn’t really cut and colour your hair so much as they did primitive medical things like bloodletting. Which, as you may know, is just taking someones blood out of their body via whatever method they came up with that day.


“Hold still, I’m going to try a new axe-based procedure.”

So, to advertise their blood spilling medical parlour, they would wrap the bloody bandages around a light pole and put it outside of their shop. Yes, this is the actual origin of the barber pole. You might assume it was just a cute invention by some Italian barber way back in the day, but no, it was forged during the time of castles and knights, as a light wooden pole wrapped with blood drenched bandages from the unlucky subjects of medieval surgery.


Sorry for the gross imagery there. Here is a picture of a silly puppy.


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