Historians believe that the first barber shops date back as early as 3500 B.C. Before there were surgeons or dentists, barbers were the ones who treated wounds, pulled teeth, and set broken bones. The barber pole has a deeper, darker bloodier meaning than you can even begin to suspect. 

A Barber Surgeon In Medieval England

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Beginning in Medieval times, physicians did not often participate in the practice of surgery or the even less vague art of dentistry. This was handled by the barber surgeons of the day, not necessarily because they were highly skilled in the practice, but more likely because they already owned the sharp tools, such as razor blades, that were necessary for these procedures.

The 1700s Scene Of A Barber Surgeon

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Patients in need of anything from a simple tooth extraction to an amputation would seek the consultation of the barber, who would charge them a flat price for the services. In any given day, in any given shop in the 13th century, a barber might dress a minor wound, pull an aching molar, saw off a gangrenous foot, and preform several haircuts.

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