Now it happened that there was a mining camp in Colorado where more than an average number
of the miners were bald. An enterprising hair tonic salesman from Kentucky decided to take
advantage of this golden opportunity, so he made the trip north. It was a rainy summer evening.
The salesman was headed towards the mining camp with four bottles of hair tonic under his arm.
As he was crossing one of the trout streams, which lead to the Arkansas River, the salesman
slipped and dropped two bottles of hair tonic into the water. The bottles broke, and the hair tonic
spilled into the stream.
Not too long after this incident, the fishermen along the Arkansas developed
a new method for catching trout. They’d head to the bank of the river
carrying a red and white barber pole and some scissors. Then they would set
up the barber pole and call out: “Get your free shave and a hair cut here.”
All the trout whose fur had grown too long or who needed their beards
trimmed would hop right out of the water and be picked up by the fishermen.
It wasn’t until the mills began muddying the waters so much that the fish
couldn’t see the barber poles that the practice died out.