No one knows exactly where or how the miracle of wet shaving originated. It is generally believed that during the 18th century, certain members of the French aristocracy began cutting their beards into various shapes and configurations using hot water and a straight edge. Further adaptations to this crude process soon followed. In London, at about the same time, barbers began giving shaves to wealthy patrons. This worked well, for barbers were the only ones permitted to perform medical surgeries, thus enabling them to develop a very lucrative side business shaving beards, an easy addition to their regular surgical duties as they already possessed the scalpels, cutting and shaping utensils required to efficiently cut hair.