BARBER SHOP HAIRCUTS
Videos I shared in previous articles in this blog series (about Victorian-American and Old West Barber Shops) showed barbers using steamed, hot towels. Are you half as surprised as I am that barbers found an ingenious way to manage steamed towels and a hot water dispenser–heated by gas–in the nineteenth century?
VINTAGE BARBER SHOP CHAIRS
In his book titled Barber Instructor and Toilet Manual (published 1900 and now in public domain), Frank C. Bridgeford explains the necessity of a good, up-to-date barber’s chair in making a good first impression (note: transcription is precisely as it appears in the original text with typos, 19th-century spellings, a missing period at the end of a sentence and all):
General impressions go along way in this world. A man may have some particular hobby and imagine, for instance, that he is not being properly shaved if the razor is not held in a certain position, or travels in a specified direction, or is not stropped a certain number of times between the first and second goings over. He may have some particular idea upon some particular subject which he uses as a guage of the grade of barber shop he is in, but such a man is the exception and not the rule. The average man has a guage which he applies, but you will find that nine times out of ten his eye rests first upon the barber’s chair. If he sees an old fashioned, uncomfortable chair, a general feeling of dis satisfaction creeps over him He begins to feel that the soap you use is not good, that your razors pull and that your after-shaving preparation is not pleasant. All this before he puth himself under your care. The sight of the old fashioned chair starts him off in a critical, dissatisfied frame of mind. But if he sees a modern, up-to-date, bright, comfortable looking chair, the result is just the opposite. He does not look for trouble as not in a criticising mood. Of course the soap is good, of course the razor is perfect, and the after-shaving lotion just suits him. He starts in on the right tract and there’s everything in the start one gets always. [sic]
When fancy-dancy newly tooled Barber Shop Chairs weren’t available, barbers apparently offered a pedestal to allow their clients to recline on a standard chair.
MOTHER CUTS HIS HAIR AT HOME
Barber shops existed in well-established towns and even in the Old West…in town. But what about the isolated frontiersman? Or the rancher who lived far out of town? Haircuts became less than necessary, and men often grew their hair overlong. Pioneers were nothing if not resourceful, and though mother had no formal barber training, she’d do what needed doing (or Pa would) and cut the boys’ hair. Someone would return the favor and cut Pa’s hair. Scissors, barber combs, and barber clippers were for sale in the late 19th Century mail-order catalogs. Scissors would be sharpened with a whetstone, same as knives, and with care, would last a good long while.
Mothers have always been targeted by marketers…and haircuts for their children are no exception.
Hat Etiquette of the Victorian Era Freckles, Complexions, Cosmetics, and Victorian Beauty Concoctions False Beauty Spots Old West Bath House Old West Bath Tubs Styling Ladies’ Hair; American 19th Century Victorian Era Men’s Hairstyles Old West Barber Shop Victorian Shaving, Part 1 Victorian Shaving, Part 2 Stetson’s Boss of the Plains vs the Bowler Victorian Hair Augmentation Victorian Curling Irons Victorian Ladies’ Hairdressers L-O-N-G Victorian Hair Mail-Order Catalogs: Timeline & Truth Mail-Order Catalogs in the Old West
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt LC