Where Did the Red and White Barber Pole Come From and What Does the Word Barber Mean?

The Roman word for beard is “barba”, which gave us the term barber.

Early barbers cut hair and trimmed beards, but they also pulled teeth and practiced medicinal bloodletting.

This last procedure required the patient to expose his veins by squeezing a pole painted red to hide the bloodstains.

When not in use the red pole was displayed outside wrapped in the white gauze used as bandages, and it eventually became the official trademark of the barber.