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Luc
10-28-2011, 01:48 AM
Okay, one of the questions that we often have is... How old is my straight razor?

Well, there are a few tips and tricks that some use to have a date range on straight razors... I'm thinking that we should document and include a few pictures (to provide an example) so we know how to do this (and eventually do a wiki article with this information)!

All right, how do you know how old is that straight razor, what do you do? Pictures?

YetiDave
10-28-2011, 02:57 AM
I'm no expert, but the main two that spring to mind are the old 'England' stamp - if it doesn't have it then the razor's pre 1890ish (correct me if I'm wrong!) and scale material - Bakelite and other plastics suggest the razor's post 1910 give or take

mdunn
10-28-2011, 03:52 AM
3 main ways.

Grind
Tail
Scales

Grind, basically the big wed get grinds are old Sheffield. They start to hollow out (as far as i can see from 1860sish onwards

Tail. The shorter and fatter the older!

Scales. Straight slabs of horn means old! Then as celluloid and Bakelite come in it's much later

Mike H
10-28-2011, 06:27 AM
Based on the tail, I found this picture helpful, posted by Johnmrson
http://straightrazorplace.com/srpwiki/images/3/30/Tail.jpg

Other than that, I like to check these references;
Uniclectica's Miscellanea Files (http://www.uniclectica.com/misc/manuf.html)
German Razor Makers (http://www.archivingindustry.com/cutlers&toolmakers/razormakers.htm)
Scotland Street, Sheffield (http://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/index.php?/topic/5185-scotland-street/) See post #8

Mike H
10-28-2011, 06:28 AM
Also a listing by date of Scotland Street in Sheffield

http://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/forums/index.php?/topic/5185-scotland-street/

Kavik79
10-28-2011, 11:28 AM
Love the idea of this thread, I know I've asked about a couple :thumbup1:


I'm no expert, but the main two that spring to mind are the old 'England' stamp - if it doesn't have it then the razor's pre 1890ish (correct me if I'm wrong!) and scale material - Bakelite and other plastics suggest the razor's post 1910 give or take
I love the england stamp, a crown and set of initials that tell you who was ruling at the time the blade was made. However, you're a bit off about the part in bold there; I have one razor that between the manufacturer tang stamp and the england stamp, it's definitely between 1837-1850. It would be great if someone could say for sure when they started and stopped using this method!


And while it's true that the wedge is indicative of an old design, I've read in a few places that hollow grinding started as early as the 1820's by some manufacturers, but then developed more fully over the next 50 or 60 years.


Scales are a nice additional source of info, but not very reliable with how common it is to not have the originals on, and you never know if the previous owner replaced them with something new, or tried replacing them with something old but not original to the razor


Here's a couple pages I found to be a fun read:
(all in the same site, but separate links because there was no real navigation on the site for these pages)
Straight Razors - a brief history of their development 1500 - 1820 (http://www.theinvisibleedge.co.uk/history1.html)
Straight Razors - a brief history of their development 1820 - 1850 (http://www.theinvisibleedge.co.uk/history2.html)
Straight Razors - a brief history of their development 1850 - 1950 (http://www.theinvisibleedge.co.uk/history3.html)

dakotaev
10-28-2011, 01:26 PM
Pin/washer types can also give a clue, especially when you're trying to figure out if a razor is late or early 20th century.

Later they started using those nail type pins with a washer on 1 side as they use on most current production razors. In my experience you'll find those on most that were made in the 70's 80's etc... whereas older ones tend to have pin + 2 washers.

Of course modified razors such as regrinds or ones with replaced scales throw things off.

YetiDave
10-28-2011, 04:05 PM
It's possible that they may have an England stamp before that time, but it wasn't made law for manufacturers to include country of origin until around 1890

Luc
10-28-2011, 04:11 PM
Good information so far...

So, if we were to build a table that shows different criteria... How would it look?

Period - Description
-------------------
1950-1970 ----- Tang/type of blade/etc...

I think we should add some examples too (pictures)... How would it look like?

Kavik79
10-28-2011, 11:34 PM
that's going to be a really complicated chart with lots of maybe's and possibly's and could be's LOL

I'd imagine you'd have to start by having a different chart for each country of origin, as they will come with their own sets of style differences that could confuse matters.
From there I would make a grid with years (decades?) running down the left and categories and sub-categories along the top. Then check off if that was a common trait for the time period

I was going to throw together a mock table to explain what I mean, but this forum lets me add a table tag but not row or cell tags :confused1

Kentos
10-29-2011, 11:46 AM
Since all the experts will be chiming in here ill post a mystery razor of mine. It came to me sans scales, in great condition...which led me to believe it was a regrind...also the only hallmark is an anchor...it has a smaller tang, so could it be from the late 1700-early 1800? Its also almost too long...
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/kds471/Snapbucket/C7F91680-orig.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v280/kds471/Snapbucket/0EDF3074-orig.jpg

Luc
10-29-2011, 01:58 PM
Good idea Ken!

The chart that was posted by Mike H up here is a chart from StraightRazorPlace... What I would like is our own documentation that we would make. I don't think that we need to have a single table per country... There must be a general rule of thumb for most straights (see Kentos' picture above) that we would use to date the straight...

From there, it's a matter of adding some pictures and specifications that would enable anyone who is reading the article to date the mystery straight razor.

Following that, if there are specifics for a country (i.e. England stamp, that could be included in a second table that mentions the country and the specifics)...

So, something maybe in the lines of


! Grind type !! Potential dates

|-
| Picture 1 || Date Range

|-
|Picture 2 || Date Range

|-
|Picture 3 || Date Range




! Tail type !! Potential dates

|-
| Picture 1 || Date Range

|-
|Picture 2 || Date Range

|-
|Picture 3 || Date Range




! Scales type !! Potential dates

|-
| Picture 1 || Date Range

|-
|Picture 2 || Date Range

|-
|Picture 3 || Date Range




! Country !! Specifications

|-
| England || Straights Stamped with Country of origin between 9999-9999

|-
| France || ?

|-
| Japan || ?

Kavik79
10-29-2011, 03:11 PM
That way could work too. I had french monkey tails in mind when I mentioned that, though honestly I don't know what the date range on those are anyway, so it may not be an issue lol

Luc
10-29-2011, 03:19 PM
That way could work too. I had french monkey tails in mind when I mentioned that, though honestly I don't know what the date range on those are anyway, so it may not be an issue lol

Even if we add the French Monkey tail with a ? next to it, it's 50% of the information...

Legion
10-29-2011, 05:03 PM
I have a few old stub tails that still have their original scales. I can provide pics if they will help the project.

Luc
10-29-2011, 05:15 PM
I have a few old stub tails that still have their original scales. I can provide pics if they will help the project.

I think any picture that can fit in those squares can help yes!

Legion
10-29-2011, 05:57 PM
OK, well here are some examples of what was coming out of Sheffield in the first years of the 18th century. All have the original fittings.

James Johnson, W. Greaves & Sons

John Barber, RH & Sons

http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x146/dh10au/P1050837.jpg

None actually have the area of manufacture stamped (An interesting dating feature. It wasn't until later that they seemed to say Sheffield, and then around the 1890's they also added England.) All have horn scales (One may be tortoise... we are not sure) and bulls eye rivets.

Luc
10-29-2011, 06:00 PM
Nice! Can you take a close up of the tails?

Legion
10-29-2011, 06:13 PM
Check!

http://i184.photobucket.com/albums/x146/dh10au/P1050840.jpg

BTW, those are cm squares on the cutting board, if that helps for scale.

Luc
10-29-2011, 06:27 PM
:thumbup1: Perfect!

So those would be between 1775-1810 or 1810-1835?

Legion
10-29-2011, 06:35 PM
If I had to guess I would say the two with the lighter scales are pre 1810, and the darker scaled ones are ~ 1820. Hard to be 100% sure though.

Kentos
10-29-2011, 06:55 PM
Nice...Legion, does my no name razor look like a regrind to you? Either way its nice to think that my razor is from the early 1800...kind of boggles the mind...

Legion
10-29-2011, 07:10 PM
Nice...Legion, does my no name razor look like a regrind to you? Either way its nice to think that my razor is from the early 1800...kind of boggles the mind...

Yeah, it kind of does. From the pictures yours looks a lot more hollow ground and precise than other stubtails I've seen. They are always more wedge like, and a bit rougher, like they were forged one at a time rather than ground out of a blank. To my eyes, anyway.

Yours almost looks like they took an old one and then "rejuvenated" it using more modern techniques.

Or it could be a custom someone made themselves, I suppose?

Kentos
10-29-2011, 07:12 PM
Your eyes are way better than mine! Thanks!