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Illustation of a nineteenth-century barber shop and why barber colleges were created

Barber Schools Arrive

20 May 16
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“In England, America and all over the civilized world, the decline of the barber was a spectacle for all to see. Barber shops became hangouts, places where low characters assembled. Smutty stories, malicious scandal and gossip of all kinds, characterized barber shops. Until a few years ago, a barbershop was a place where men showed their lower instincts and where women dared not to enter.” So wrote Mr. A.B. Moler in 1911 introduction to his classic textbook The Barber’s Manuel, which remained in print for 30 years.

Nineteenth-century barber shop

A. B. Moler began his apprenticeship in 1889 at the age of 21, under the tutelage of an older brother who had mastered the trade by the time-honored system of on-the-job training. Mr. Moler recounted that he spent the first three years of his apprenticeship engaged in floor-sweeping, neck-shaving and hot-towel dispensing; actual learning little about his chosen trade.

Over the next 10 years, Moler devised a method of training that led to the establishment of the “Moler System of Barber Colleges”. Beginning with the main branch which he founded in Chicago in 1893, the colleges spread to every major city in the United States and Canada.


Grahams Barber College

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