The Barber station -circa 1790-1820s made of oak with a mirror this kept the tools of the barber in one place and room for a wash bowl on the bottom shelf. Towels and such laid on the top and a key would lock up the contents at night. The value on this piece 350.00-375.00 for insurance purposes the replacement value is 40=50.00 It looks to be in excellent condition. No breaks or damage visible in the photos.
The original barbers didn’t specialize in a particular field and weren’t there solely to provide the gents of the day with a trim, they put their chairs and clients through a far gorier ordeal. The red and white of the pole serves to provide a visual representation for both bandages and blood, and the brass bowl that surrounded the top of the pole represented a dish that was used to contain leeches.
The leeches were used in a practice called bloodletting. This form of healing dates back to ancient Europe where it was decided that those with ailments and illnesses should have their blood extracted by the invertebrates in the hopes that whatever sickness living within the blood would also be extracted. It didn’t work and it continued not to work for the 2000 years it was in use. To make things worse for our unfortunate ancestors the barber surgeons of their day were not academically trained but rather the product of simple apprenticeships.
As if being attacked by parasites and numpties (British informal A stupid or ineffectual person.) on your day off wasn’t bad enough you might be visiting your local barber surgeon for another reason. Dentistry. No anesthetic, no medication, no messing. The barbers of the 1700’s were also your dentist meaning they would quite literally rip the diseased teeth from your mouth. As you can imagine hygiene wasn’t up to any sort of standard and with equipment being used on patient after patient infection rates were absurdly high.
Due to the various unpleasant tasks that the barbers of old had to undertake they had far less time to hone their main role and the skill level and quality of the haircuts is not at all to the standard of today. The poor were given generic cuts, if they could afford one at all, and the rich chose to keep their hair extremely close and tight to their head due to them generally wearing wigs from day to day.