Often when we see pictures of our "founding fathers" their hair appears white and carefully styled. This is because gentlemen in the eighteenth century wore wigs. Here we stand inside the King's Arms Barber Shop looking out onto Duke of Gloucester Street.
In colonial days the wigmaker was also known as a perukemaker, from the French word "perruque" meaning wig. From the display in the window it is apparent that wigs came in many different styles. Which one would you choose to wear? Might you have one for work and another for parties?
Wigs, like so many personal items, were custom-made to fit the buyer. To construct the wigs, which could be made from thread, horse, yak, goat, or human hair, the wigmaker used a head of wood called a blockhead. Thus, to insult someone's intelligence, you might call them a "blockhead."
The colonial milliner was a merchant of imported clothing and fabrics, fashionable household goods, and personal items. This was an occupation open to women. A dress, such as the one seen here, would be constructed by a mantua maker, usually contracted out through the milliner's shop.
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