The story about the barberpole

In earlier days a hairdresser or a barbershop were recognizeable by there barberpole.

A remarkable barberpole woldwide usedas tradesigne with a special history.


In the medieval times barbers were not only cutting hair, beard trimming and shaving.

The were also performing tooth extractions and minor surgeries like bloodletting.

The purpose of bloddletting to clean the body from illnesses.

The patient’s arm would be touriqued using bandages ans a stick.

The barber would cut a vein ans drain some blood.

After the bloodletting was done, the dressings were washed ans hang over the stick outside the shop to dry.

This would show the other people that the barber mastered the skill of bloddletting and also that he was free fot the next patient.

The red bloodied bandage (washpwdet did not exist) and the white bandage whirled in the wind into a spiral.

And behold: the barberpole was born!


After the devolopment of the medical profession, barbers were only allowed to practice under the control of a physician.

The barbers weren ow called ‘barber-surgeaons’.

This is where the different began betweeen longcoats and shortcoats.

Under the auspices of the physician, the barber surgeon was authorized to do the ‘dirty’ work.

Physicians understand the circirculatory system and are able to disingguish between the oxigen-rich blood, wich is disignated as red, and de-oxinated blood, which gets marked with a bleu color.

Showing this knowledge a third color was added tot he barberpole: bleu!

The barberpole became a status fort he barber-surgeon.


That applies in this case too.

Originaly the golden balls of the barberpole were bras sans lead basins, used in bloddletting.

In the golden ball at the top of the barberpole symboles the brass basin used fort he storage of the leeches.

Ans yhe golden Vall at the bottom of the barberpole represents the lead basin that recerved the blood.


With the invention of the electric razors in the beginning of the 20th century people strated tos have themselves more and more.

And since the 1960’s the barber trade slowly started to disappear.

Since then barbers strarted to study to become hairdressers, and called themselves more upmarket çoiffeurs’.

The barberpoles, the status symbols of the barbers, were removed from the shop fronts and ende4d up in the attics.

There theey have been gathering dust fora bout 50 years, until now.

The barbershop is back into fashion!

The modern man like tob e shaven again with the open knife at the barbershop.


The stubble beard is out of fashion.

If you want to look good, you should wear a full beard ore nothing.

No savage pirate case, but a wel groomed beard under the chin!

Pomade, moustache wax, eveything taken from grandfathers cabinet to look ship-shape.

Not everuone is able to keep a beautyful beard.

This made more ans more men and feel called to take up the razor to pamper men with a great (Italian) shave.


Well, if you take yourselves serious as a barber, then you go tot he attic to find that barberpole your grandfather had once placed on the shopfront of your barbershop.

Now what? Thrown away? Eaten by woodworms? What a shame…


Buy a new one? Where?

And again: the new-age barberpoles don’t look as good as the old one’s.


Fortunaly, I practice the authentic profession of a traditional woodturner.

I would love to see those beautyful old barberpoles adorn the streets again.

So it had become my mission tob ring new live tot he old barberpole.

The poles you can see at my website are brand new: designed, turned and decorated by myself.

However, they look identical tot he barberpoles that have been hanging on the barbershops for at least 70 years in all kinds of weather and exhaust gasses, and then left for 50 years in the attic.

By using outdated painting techniques and matt paint the poles look authentic.

The correspinding frame can adapted according tot he situation of the façade, where i twill be placed and coated to prevent rust and weathering.

I’m sure you wan’t be climbing a ladder every year wit a paintbruh in your hand instead a shavingbrush?


The whole process of making thes barberpoles is in my own hand.

Turning and painting is done by hand and the designs came out of my brains and fantasy.

The construction of the frame is customized, as each situation where it schould be fastened is different.

Even if the pole is requested to bee free-standing: I will think of a solution.

So, each pole looks original and that is one of its charms.

Of course you may happen to have your own picture of a barberpole or maby you have a design of your own mind that you have always dreamed of.

Don’t be afraid to express your desire: your wih is my command!


Nancy Gelderman; traditional woodturner.

Dutch-Barberpole en

Hollands Kroon
Dorpsstraat 138-20
1731RK, Winkel

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