Barber surgeon's sign, England, 1680-1830
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Hung outside a barber-surgeon’s premises, this double-sided carved sign illustrates one of the main services on offer, bloodletting. The sign also features a skull, as a representation of death, and a sand glass timer at the top, possibly to show the short nature of life. There are no words on the sign so even if you could not read you could still understand what the sign was advertising.