The public still believed that bloodletting was going to help them be healthy, so they turned to the professional who had a sharp set of knives. Barbers went into the business of bloodletting and continued the practice for more than 300 years. Royalty and wealthy citizens had their own barbers on staff. Common people consulted barbers for everything from rotten teeth to lice infections. Barbers were much cheaper than physicians, and during the Middle Ages most people could not afford to see a doctor. Barbers were both hairstylists and surgeons until 1800, when the formal Company of Surgeons was formed. The colors on the barber pole date back to the Middle Ages, when a barber did much more than cut hair. The red on the pole indicates that the barber could be hired to do bloodletting with either leeches or a scalpel.