The shave-and-shoot-out scene in the Barber Shop belongs in the classic Western movie like revolvers, whiskey, Winchester and dynamite. Pullman City Harz - the Western town reconstructed in a historically correct and elaborate manner on 200,000m2 and filled with pulsating life - naturally also has such a Barber Shop. Its worthy master and owner is Historical Barber Ulrich Junga, the only authentic Western barber this side of the big pond. He knows the shaving products of that time and their no longer existing producers and wholesalers as well as the techniques of their application like no other.
Ulrich, how did you get into historical barbering?
It all started as a salesman at medieval fairs. During breaks in tournaments, I could attract customers to the booth by shaving myself. That made an impression. Immediately, visitors and other merchants wanted to be barbered. So there was a demand. I checked legally whether it was possible and started doing it at the next market.
Now you have a barbershop in a western town. What makes it different from barbering at the historic markets?
Essentially, it‘s the clothing. The commonality is that I work completely historically. That means I don‘t use any machine-powered or electric clippers. I use straight razors and hand clippers. That‘s it.
What is special about your barbershop?
My barbershop is both a barbershop in function and a barber museum. Some historical parts are pure exhibits, with others I still work. For example, I have the two oldest hydraulic barber chairs in Germany in use. They are still made of wood and I restored them myself. One is from 1898, the other from 1900, both from the Koken company in St. Louis. And it wasn‘t until 1895 that chairs of this type even existed.
What is important about working with and on customers?
The only principle is that there are no rules. You have to adjust to each customer individually. Some customers fall asleep on my chair because the shave is so relaxing. Others don‘t feel like it at first and are put on my chair by their partners. I have to calm them down first. In addition, I have regular customers who hand in their ID cards at the cash register and do not pay admission to the park if they take the direct route to me and back to the exit. A woman and her daughter once started crying in my store because the scent of a soap reminded them of their late husband and father.
What is important about using a straight razor?
Again, everyone needs the straight razor that fits them. Someone with large hands will need a larger razor with a stronger tang. Personally, I get along well with 5/8 and 6/8.
Please tell us about the Straight Razor you designed.
It was important to me, of course, that the knife be historically accurate. The knife corresponds to Boker models around the turn of the 19th century. Artificial ivory is also already attested for this time by preserved catalogs. The Barber‘s Notch, which was common at that time, could not be missing for me in any case.
Can you solve the riddle for our readers, what the Barber‘s Notch was actually intended for?
I don‘t know which of the relevant theories is the only true one. But from professional experience I can say that the blade is easier and safer to open with soapy fingers. It also makes working on the upper lip around the nostrils much easier.
Thank you and we wish you friendly and satisfied customers and a safe hand all the time.