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Stepping into a 1903 Bluffton barber shop

Tine McGriff and Forest Mumma have over 100 customers

Step inside Tine McGriff’s Barber Shop on Main Street, Bluffton, in 1903.

Look around. Here’s what you see in this superbly posed photograph. We aren’t certain, but it has the makings of a Will Triplett photo.

The photographer has posed the following: • Tine McGriff cutting a customer’s hair

• The customer is getting his shoes shined

• Forest Mumma, the barber facing the mirror, is preparing to shave his customer

perfectly posed with his reflection in the mirror

• The customer to be shaved is leaning back in his chair

All of this is posed with natural light. That means everyone must sit still for perhaps four seconds. And, there was probably only one photograph taken, so it had to be correct the first time.

Now, look around the room. You’ll find the following:

• A display cabinet with cigars

• Hanging on the wall is an advertisement of nine Bluffton businesses

At the bottom of this story, you may read the ads

• On the far right is at least 100 shaving mugs belonging to customers

• An interesting sign seen above the head of the customer having a haircut reads:

“No loafing in the barber chair”

We wonder if, the sign is a joke, or a serious warning to customers.

This photo is from the collection of Ray Mumma. His grandfather, Forest Mumma, is the young barber with his back to the photographer

Now, let’s focus on the nine advertisements hanging on the wall. To the best of our ability these read:

Top from left:

• J.W. Mitchell, pure drugs and medicines, ice cream sodas

• Tipton’s Lunch Room, ice cream sodas

• First National Bank, Bluffton, Ohio

Middle row:

• Bluffton Milling Co. home of Sweet Home Flour

• Unidentified sign

• J.C. Welty, wagons

Bottom row:

• We can fit you out from Head and Foot, Baumgartner, Locher and Co.

• Bixel Jewelry and Music store

• Elastic pulp plaster, the ??? Pulp Plaster Co.

And, McGriff also had a laundry business. Check the bottom of this story to see two McGriff advertisements from the Bluffton News in 1899.

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