Monday, April 12, 2010

Antique Oak Mirror Barber Shop Mirror

This piece is an old Barber Shop Mirror from Groveton Texas, the post on the sides were added to give the sides a clean finish. There were originally three identical mirrors across the wall of the old Barber Shop in Groveton Tx. and they were separated by large carved pillars. The hole in the upper right corner is where the gas lighting came in to light the station. The date on the back of the mirror is 1895, and the attention to detail is what makes this piece so special.

The barber's trade is an ancient one. Razors have been found among relics of the Bronze Age (circa 3500 BC) in Egypt.

Shaving, either of the head or face, was not always a voluntary act, for it has been enforced by law in England and elsewhere.[citation needed] Cleanliness and vanity were therefore not the sole reasons for a "clean shave"; the origins lie deeper.

Before the Macedonian conquest brought the custom of clean shaving, the κουρευς in the Greek agora would trim and style his patrons' beards, hair, and fingernails, as gossip and debate flowed freely.[2]

Barbering was introduced to Rome by the Greek colonies in Sicily in 296 B.C., and barber shops quickly became very popular centres for daily news and gossip. A morning visit to the tonsor became a part of the daily routine, as important as the visit to the public baths, and a young man's first shave (tonsura) was an essential part of his coming of age ceremony.

Interior of a barber's shop, circa 1920.

A few Roman tonsores became wealthy and influential, running shops that were favorite loci publici of high society; however, most were simple tradesmen, owning small storefronts or setting up their stool in the street and offering shaves for a mere quadrans. Some had reputations as clumsy butchers who left their patrons scarred about the cheeks and chin; their dull bronze or copper (never steel) razors must share some of the blame. The better barbers offered depilatories for those customers who refused the razor.

The barbers of former times were also surgeons and dentists. In addition to haircutting, hairdressing, and shaving, barbers performed surgery, bloodletting and leeching, fire cupping, enemas, and the extraction of teeth. Thus they were called barber surgeons, and they formed their first organization in 1094.[1] The barber pole red and white in spiral indicated the two crafts, surgery in red and barbering in white. The barber was paid higher than the surgeon until surgeons were entered into British war ships during its many naval wars. Some of the duties of the barber included neck manipulation, cleaning of ears and scalp, draining of boils, fistula and lancing of cysts with wicks.

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