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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Story of Phlebotomy: A Historical Perspective. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Barber pole

Bleeding basin, doubled as shaving bowl.

The Middle Ages - Differentiation Between Barber-Surgeons

To differentiate between the two professions, barber-surgeons began placing a striped pole of red and white or blue and white or all three colors outside their places of business. Usually suspended from the pole was a basin that was used to receive blood during a bloodletting. The basins ranged from being plain in looks to being very elaborately decorated. Some even had graduated lines to indicate the number of ounces of blood when filled to that line.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons