The Barber Pole
So where does the barber pole come from
The history of the barber pole is intertwined with the history of barbers and their bloodletting practices. Patients would grasp a rod or staff tightly so that their veins would show, and the barbers would cut open their arms and bleed them until they fainted (nasty but true). Later, when leech therapy became popular, as they allowed for more controlled bleeding, the leeches were applied directly to the vein areas. After the procedure, the washed bandages were hung outside on a pole to dry, and to advertise the ghastly therapeutic specialities offered in the barbershop. Flapping in the wind, the long strips of bandages would twist around the pole in the spiral pattern we now associate with barbers.