Archive for Thursday, January 13, 2011

100 years ago: State health official insists on sanitary conditions at barber shops

January 13, 2011


From the Lawrence Daily World for Jan. 13, 1911:

  • “Will the price of a hair cut and shave be fifty cents after February 1? There is an insistent report current in Lawrence to the effect that it will. Several shop owners have been heard to remark lately that they certainly would have to follow the example of Hutchinson barbers if Dr. Crumbine continued his activity. The state health official [says] that a close inspection of barber shops must be made during the month. It is generally believed that some barbers are not closely following the provisions of the sanitary enactment and that a rigid enforcement of this measure will be followed by a hike in the price of hair cuts. The barber law forbids the use of the same towel in massage work on more than one person, a regulation which probably no shop in town observes. It is also doubtful if the provision relating to sterilizing all instruments immediately after use is closely regarded.”
  • “‘Zeta Chi boys: My conscience hurt me, therefore I return this here property.’ This note together with a pile of watches, jewelry, safety razors and other trinkets taken from a half dozen rooms, was found heaped upon the library table of a fraternity house at Baker this morning. The property was the same which had been carried away at midnight Tuesday. Its value aggregated approximately $400, and not a single article was missing.”
  • “This is Friday, the 13th. Superstitious people are remaining quietly at home, and carefully refraining from any new enterprises.”


Sarah St. John 7 years, 1 month ago

Good old Dr. Crumbine! We've seen him before. He did a lot for public health in Kansas! After starting out as a doctor in Dodge City, he went to Topeka, where he was in charge of the State Board of Health. (Later he worked for the U.S. Public Health Service, which is now part of DHHS.) He was the one who came up with laws about pure food and water (you may remember he was the one making sure those bread loaves the bakeries were selling in 1910 actually weighed as much as advertised!) as well as sewage disposal. In spite of a lot of grumbly opposition, he outlawed the practice of one shared drinking cup at schools, on trains, and at the county fair. He was behind the innovation of paper towels in public rest rooms, was strongly opposed to spitting in public, and was the inventor of the fly-swatter. And during that whole typhoid outbreak in the fall of 1910, he was probably shaking his head and thinking "I told you so!" when they discovered the horrendous river of waste in the back alleys, which had been seeping into the well-water in Lawrence. And now (1911), he wanted the barbers to run a clean shop! Thanks Dr. C for dragging Kansans, and eventually the whole nation, kicking and screaming into the world of modern hygiene! You survived into your 90s at a time when average life expectancy was a little over half that number, so you must have been doing something right!

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