The history of the Barber Shop is far more deeply rooted, complex and influential than the majority of people know about. The first known Barbers date back to ancient Egyptian times, when a barber was a highly respected individual. They not only offered haircuts and beard trimming services, but even performed surgery and dentistry. That’s right; the same man that trimmed the hair on your head will also be performing your surgery! In fact, this is how the red and white swirled Barber Shop Pole came into existence. Many believe that the colors represent red blood swirling with a white bandage. Barbers would perform a process called bloodletting, which involved withdrawing a small amount of blood from the patient in order to cure them from illness or disease. The barber surgeon would wrap a white bandage around the patient to stop the bleeding after the process was complete. Then the bandage was hung outside to dry on a pole in front of the shop. The wind would wrap the bandage around the pole, causing the red and white swirl that you still see today and immediately recognize as a barber shop!
Barber Surgeons remained prevalent throughout history going from Egypt to Ancient Greece and then later to Rome, even getting a few mentions in the Bible. Throughout time, the barber’s service started to becoming more specialized on grooming and less in the medical fields as professions became more specialized. Also, clients were getting sicker rather than healthier after visiting the barber, so in 1745, London, England finally passed a bill to separate barbers and surgeons for good. This bill caught on in other countries and soon the barber was forever separated from the medical field.
The Golden Age of the Barber Shop started in the late 19th century as they became a popular place for Men to hangouts and socialize… and escape their wives! Barber Shops even became public forums where men would gather to have open discussions and voice public concern about important topics in their community, similar to a town hall meeting. The glory days were further aided in 1983 when a Chicagoan by the name of A. B. Moler opened up the first school for Barbers and published the first textbook on barbering, teaching the masses how to properly cut hair. This obviously triggered a boom in the haircutting industry, but it also made for better haircuts and better looking people! Moler’s idea caught like wildfire and soon every city throughout the country opened up a school for barbers to perfect their craft. With more educated barbers, came more barber shops! Going to the barber shop became a weekly, if not daily, habit for men. Some came to socialize and debate, some came to flee their homes, and others simply visited to clean themselves up because of lack of better options.
The end of the Golden Age was signified in 1904 when Gillette began to mass produce and market the safety razor. This gave men the option to groom themselves from home. Gillette’s razor became so popular because it was cheaper and more efficient than visiting the barber a couple times a week. Still, the social aspect of a barber shop remained a huge draw for Men. The hits to the barber shop industry kept coming in the 1920’s when Sears began selling at home barber kits. This was the beginning of the age when mom would cut your hair at home. The Great Depression continued the string of bad luck for barbershops. Households needed to start cutting spending on luxury’s like getting a fresh shave. The market didn’t get any better during BeatleMania in the 1960’s when the hippie movement swept the nation. People began to care less about their appearance and men began growing their hair out. Patrons that used to come on a weekly basis were now only coming every couple months, or even wait a year!
Despite decade upon decade of economical blows to the industry, Barber Shops held their ground and still are today. Even in our recent 2008 recession and financial crisis, barber shops continued to see positive growth. Similar to the beginning of the 20th century, the beginning of the 21st century saw a new wave of men that wanted to be cleaned up and neatly groomed. This time, it extended beyond facial hair. Men’s body grooming, or “manscaping”, has become exponentially more appealing and in demand. However, body hair grooming was a service that the standard barber shop would not offer. This lead to the idea and birth of Knockouts Haircuts for Men!
Knockouts Haircuts for Men is a salon inspired barber shop for men which goes above and beyond the standard barber shop by offering services like body hair grooming, facials, pedicures and relaxing massages! Our barber shops are boxing themed, including individual television sets at each station and we offer an assortment of refreshments. Whether you are looking for a classic haircut and beard trim or the up-and-coming body hair grooming services and sports massage, Knockouts has it all! Stop by our Framingham, MA location today to experience it yourself or give us a call to learn more! 508-405-2829