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A History of the Barbershop - 1/8

It's hard to say just when man first took an interest in removing hair from his body but it is fair to say that it has gone on since the days of the caveman. This premise is borne out by the fact that crude cave drawings have been found depicting short-bearded or beardless men. Excavated tweezers and razors of stone (with organic handles), or horn have been carbon-dated to the Neolithic or late Stone Age periods, whilst other cultures saw men singeing their whiskers with burning twigs!

Several reasons exist for hair removal over the ages. These range from minimising the breeding of lice and fleas to eliminating the beard as a hand-hold in combat. Some trimming was needed to enable early man to eat, whilst being superstitious, a heavy beard was associated with old age and approaching death. Somewhere along the line entered vanity!

The word 'barber' derives from the Latin 'barba' for beard and hence 'barbarians' referred to tribes who were bearded. Records show that the earliest barbers were the most prominent men of their tribes, often being medicine men or priests. Primitive man believed that individuals were inhabited by both good and bad spirits which entered the body through the hair.


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