post (barber pole)

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
‘The barber pole, you mean?'
<...>
‘I could give you a deal on that post,’

Source: It by Stephen King

In this scene, the character is at a pawnshop. The proprietor has a barber pole on display.

Is it common to refer to a barber pole as a post? Is a barber pole really a post?

Thank you.
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Who's offering a deal on the post, the pawnbroker or the other character? "Pole" is perhaps a bit more specific than "post," but they're fairly similar.
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    A post is generally a part of a structure or piece of furniture that's set upright as a support. A barber's pole isn't generally used as any kind of structural support, but it is set upright.

    Of course, there are also purely decorative posts, such as many bed posts. I suppose a barber's pole is sort of like a bed post.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Nowadays, if you can find a barber shop they will generally have a wall mounted barber pole. But when I was growing up in the Bronx the barber shops had a floor mounted pole in front of the shop as advertising. Some were lit, and some had revolving stripes.

    I think the ground mounted poles could be called "posts".



    Very early versions were painted wooden poles:

     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Note that when the pole is revolving the spiral stripes should be winding downwards.

    Barbers used to pull teeth, and the red stripes symbolise falling blood.
    I did not know that. My old barber used to repair bicycles as well as cut hair. He also promoted bicycle races and donated free reconditioned bikes to poorer children. No bloody pole though.

     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Note that when the pole is revolving the spiral stripes should be winding downwards.

    Barbers used to pull teeth, and the red stripes symbolise falling blood.
    They did rather more than pull teeth. Wiki:
    The barber surgeon is one of the most common medical practitioners of medieval Europe – generally charged with looking after soldiers during or after a battle. In this era, surgery was not generally conducted by physicians, but by barbers (who of course had a sharp-bladed razor as an indispensable tool of their profession). In the Middle Ages in Europe barbers would be expected to do anything from cutting hair to amputating limbs. Mortality of surgery at the time was quite high due to loss of blood and infection. Doctors of the Middle Ages thought that taking blood would help cure the patient of sickness so the barber would apply leeches to the patient. Physicians tended to be academics, working in universities, and mostly dealt with patients as an observer or a consultant. They considered surgery to be beneath them.[1]
    I've heard that the red and white stripes on the barber's pole represented the blood and the bandages.
     
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