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Thread: What kind of razor would people use in colonial America 1700s?

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    Default What kind of razor would people use in colonial America 1700s?

    For example, what kind of razor would George Washington/Thomas Jefferson/Ben Franklin use in the later part of the 1700s? Did they shave themselves or go to a barber to do it for them? I'm assuming it's a straight razor, but what kind and type. Were razors back then of good quality?

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    Every now and then colonial razors come up on Eboy. People have used straights or sorts for a very long time. They were basically wedges of different types mostly very large and heavy. Heck, even the romans used razors. I think they were made of bronze.

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    BTW I read that the Roman legions used pumice to scrape off their beards and that civilians were shaved by barbers once a month.

    From, A Closer Shave by Pinfold, it's also mentioned that due to an 1163 Papal decree forbidding monks to let blood, the task of bloodletting went to barbers who practiced shaving, hair cutting and other surgical procedures. Thus, the formation of a guild of French barbers and surgeons in 1361.

    He mentions that the first narrow bladed folding straight razors were first listed by a Sheffield, England manufacturer in 1680. And also that the invention of cast steel in 1740 yielded blades that held an edge far better than previously available.

    In 1769 a french cutler published a book that proposes that men should learn to shave themselves. And goes on to describe that common razors were wide at one end and tapering into the handle with no shoulder separating the blade from the tang. (easy to have a finger slip and get cut)

    Lastly, that all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were clean shaven (including the one from South Carolina who had an elaborate comb-over but was actually clean shaven).
    [SIZE="5"][I][B][COLOR="Blue"]DE[/COLOR][/B][COLOR="Navy"]wey[/COLOR][/I][/SIZE]
    _____________________________________________
    [SIZE="1"]Razor: Straights, Gem 1912, & Grandpa's '66 Gillette Superspeed
    Brush: Shavemac 22559 Pure, Simpson Polo #8 Best, Vulfix 662 Pewter Super Badger
    Cream: Proraso Green
    Soap: Mama Bear[/SIZE]
    _____________________________________________
    [URL="http://RonPaul2008.com"]http://RonPaul2008.com[/URL]
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. LIBERTY is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
    - Benjamin Franklin

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    Very cool Jimmy -
    How old is that one? I have seen some photos of old 1600-1700s blades that look more like tomahawks than razors with the extreme tapering of the blade.
    [SIZE="5"][I][B][COLOR="Blue"]DE[/COLOR][/B][COLOR="Navy"]wey[/COLOR][/I][/SIZE]
    _____________________________________________
    [SIZE="1"]Razor: Straights, Gem 1912, & Grandpa's '66 Gillette Superspeed
    Brush: Shavemac 22559 Pure, Simpson Polo #8 Best, Vulfix 662 Pewter Super Badger
    Cream: Proraso Green
    Soap: Mama Bear[/SIZE]
    _____________________________________________
    [URL="http://RonPaul2008.com"]http://RonPaul2008.com[/URL]
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. LIBERTY is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
    - Benjamin Franklin

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    Quote Originally Posted by DEwey View Post
    Very cool Jimmy -
    How old is that one? I have seen some photos of old 1600-1700s blades that look more like tomahawks than razors with the extreme tapering of the blade.
    I no longer have the book but going by Robert Doyles Collecting Straight Razors I would say it is early 1800s. Maybe even very late 1700s. I haven't tried shaving with it

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    I have a 'colonial' in my collection as pictured in Ritchie & Stewarts std guide to razors p. 58 (the upper of the two). You can see it here. Heaven alone knows what it would be like to shave with (I'm certainly not going to try!). The razor pictured above is similar to ones I have C. 1795-1820.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Invisible Edge View Post
    I have a 'colonial' in my collection as pictured in Ritchie & Stewarts std guide to razors p. 58 (the upper of the two). You can see it here. Heaven alone knows what it would be like to shave with (I'm certainly not going to try!). The razor pictured above is similar to ones I have C. 1795-1820.
    AWE Cummon! You need some adventure in your life don't you?
    [SIZE="5"][I][B][COLOR="Blue"]DE[/COLOR][/B][COLOR="Navy"]wey[/COLOR][/I][/SIZE]
    _____________________________________________
    [SIZE="1"]Razor: Straights, Gem 1912, & Grandpa's '66 Gillette Superspeed
    Brush: Shavemac 22559 Pure, Simpson Polo #8 Best, Vulfix 662 Pewter Super Badger
    Cream: Proraso Green
    Soap: Mama Bear[/SIZE]
    _____________________________________________
    [URL="http://RonPaul2008.com"]http://RonPaul2008.com[/URL]
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. LIBERTY is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
    - Benjamin Franklin

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DEwey View Post
    AWE Cummon! You need some adventure in your life don't you?
    Adventure, yes. I also need my carotid arteries and jugular veins. Sad, I know, but true.

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    Understandable why beards , mustaches and sideburns were popular back in the pre- safety razor days.

  11. #11
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    They weren't really that popular until the victorian era. Notice the paintings of the founders were all clean-shaven.

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