A BRIEF HISTORY & THE GOLDEN AGE OF BARBERSHOPS
June 15, 2021
The golden age of barbershops is said to have been at the end of the 20th century and up until the beginning of world war two. It was a time when barbershops rivalled taverns and pubs in terms of popularity. They were classy hangouts and visiting the barbershop was a weekly or even daily habit for many men. The barbershop’s popularity wained for a period of time, however in recent years years there has been quite a resurgence, let’s take a look at the evolution of the barbershop over time.
In the times of Ancient Greece, men would have their hair and beards tendered to in the marketplace. This was known as an agora and it would also serve as a social gathering point for debate and discussion. Men would meet to talk big ideas, politics or just plain gossip. This outdoor practice of grooming was not limited to Greece and open air haircuts are still common in parts of India, The Middle East and Asia.
The Barber Surgeon
During the middle ages the barbershop was like a one stop health shop. The barber’s role extended well beyond just grooming and he often performed both surgeries and dentistry. The professional of the time was referred to as a barber-surgeon. On top of cutting hair and shaving they would suture wounds, lance boils, set bones and prescribe bloodletting for everything from a sore throat to the plague.
The Golden Age Of Barbershops
At the turn of the 20th Century the most epic barbershops were adorned with elegant furnishings, sleek timbres, luxury upholstery, frescoes and ornate mirrors. Men would not only frequent the barbershop for a haircut and shave but also to hang out and socialise with friends. The barbershop still served as a meeting place through this era and debate on current affairs would be typical. Patrons visited very regularly and the popularity of the barbershop was hardly rivalled. The smell of the tonics, pomades, oils, and powders made for a welcoming and memorable aroma that would allow a man to relax as soon as he entered. Once the hot lather hit his face, all his worries would melt away.
Hippies & Salons
One of the first big blows to the golden age of barbering came with the launch of the disposable safety razor in 1904. They were marketed as more economical and convenient than visiting the barbershop and going to the barber for a shave soon became a special occasion instead of a regular habit. In the 1960s Beatlemania and hippie culture seized the globe and long hair was the style of choice for many men. By the 80’s unisex salons had also started to encroach on the traditional barbershop model. The smell of pipe tobacco, talc and cedarwood had given way to that of perm chemicals and hair mousse.
The Modern Day Barbershop
In recent years the traditional barbershop has had somewhat of a renaissance. Men are once again seeking the solace of a true barbershop experience and at Barber Industries we are answering that call. We have brought back the golden age of barbering and created a masculine haven for the modern man, come visit us seven days a week at Roselands.