The barber shop for years was exclusively a male experience where men were able to go and get their hair cut, nails trimmed, and skin treated. In fact, the word barber originates from the word “barba” which fittingly means “beard.”
The barber shop can be traced all the way back to the Ancient world and has numerous artifacts supporting its historic existence, including relics of combs, scissors, and more that have been found in the Ancient Egyptian world. In Ancient Greece, an “agora” was considered to be the original type of barber shop. The term barber shop in Ancient Rome was referred to us a “tonsor” and was the place to be if you were a man who needed a clean shave. For many families, this first visit as a young boy was considered an important rite of passage into manhood.
During the late 1800’s and the turn of the century, the barber shop continued to be a gathering place for men from all over the community and began to flourish with the conveniences of modern day technology. The very first barber college opened in Chicago, Illinois in 1893 and over the course of the next 20 years, barbers began to regain their status as qualified professionals.
Barbers have come a long way and are still popular today. Barbers are uniquely instructed to perform the traditional single-blade shave and send men off feeling like they can conquer the world. This profession was male dominated until 1980 when aspiring women barbers were trained and now represent nearly half of the profession. The barber shop experience is just that, an experience, and one that cannot be imitated anywhere else.