The piece of history that we have today was provided by John (Johnmrson). He was the lucky winner on eBay Australia a few months ago. I think a few of us, in Australia, were looking at it (including myself) as the auction finished. John honed the razor and sent it to me to do a research and possibly find a bit more history.
For the razor itself, like any Bengall that I tried, it’s an excellent and smooth shaver. Many straight razors in Australia are often made by Thomas Radley Cadman - Bengall (1892 - 1953). The T.R. Cadman had around 80% of their exports to Australia, Japan, India and Poland making it a very common razor down under. Other companies also sold the Bengall under their name (Such as W. Jno Baker). Bengall are extremely common down under. There are a few other makers that also had the name "Bengall" stamped on their razors but this one is definitively a T.R. Cadman.
The engraving on the blade mentions "Made in England Specially for Thomas' Stores Supply, Ballarat". The Thomas' Stores Supply on 15 Sturt Street, Ballarat (Victoria, Australia) first opened in 1896.
The city of Ballarat (originally Ballaarat - http://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/) was founded in 1837 by a Scottish settler named Archibald Yuille. The name derived from local Wathaurong Aboriginal words for the area, “balla arat”, thought to mean "resting place". The present spelling was officially adopted in 1996. The town of Ballarat is located 105 km away from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. A lot of gold was found in Ballarat and it attracted over 10,000 migrants to the city. The mining industries still play an important role today. It is the largest inland centre and third most populous city in the state and the fifth most populated inland city in Australia.
The Thomas Jewellery stores are still located at the same address today but 15-21 Sturt Street, Ballarat (Expansion occurred in 1954). The store was founded by Mr James Thomas in 1896. Each generation took over the stores and they are still a family owned business today. It was confirmed by the owners that they renamed the store to Thomas Jewellers and the razor that we have was indeed sold by their stores. The store was renamed between 1956 and 1963 as per the newspaper articles below. They also sold other items such as bicycles and spectacles. I would like to thank Jamie Thomas for this information (great grandson of James Thomas).
It would then be safe to date the razor between 1896-1953. It is unknown if the razor was immediately sold when the store opened in 1896 or if it was later on. As Bengall made by T.R. Cadman stopped being made in 1953, this would be the very last year. I did not figure out the evolution of the stamp on the shank that T.R. Cadman used over the years... Yet...
I managed to find a few articles relating to the shop over the years...
Advertising. (1869, September 28). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 8. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5815201
The building used to be a Cafe before being bought by James Thomas.Ballarat.-For SALE, the LEASE and GOODWILL to the handsome two-storey premises known as the ALFRED CAFE, No. 15 Sturt street (opposite the Star office). Accommodation large, convenient, and suitable for the business. Terms of lease and rental favourable to tenant. Business connexion large and increasing. The agents have no hesitation in recommending it as genuine and profitable undertaking.
JAMES ODDIE and Co., Estate Agents.
Advertising. (1874, March 14). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 10. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5865897
The building was then rented or bought by the Ballarat Woollen Company ltd.WOODS and J. T. WILLIAMS to receive APPLICATIONS for balance of second allotment of SHARES in the Ballarat Woollen Company (Limited) on my behalf. John Crowther, sole agent. 15 Sturt-street, Ballarat.
COUNTRY NEWS. (1914, April 11). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 16. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article7246797
An unfortunate incident that caused a bit of damage...BALLARAT AND DISTRICT.
The Rev. William Beck, of St. John's Presbyterian Church, Ballarat East, having accepted a call to Port Fairy, a deputation from St. John's attended the monthly meeting of the presbytery to urge that he remain in Ballarat. The deputation pointed out that the financial position had been much improved during the pastorate of Mr. Beck, and the church members wanted him to see them through the rest of their difficulties. Mr. Beck said that perhaps a new man would put on a spurt, and further improve the position. He thought that he should accept the call to Port Fairy, but if the presbytery thought he should remain he would bow to their decision. It was decided that the pastoral tie between Mr. Beck and St. John's be dissolved.
Senior-constable Stevenson, of the city station, .has been appointed to the charge of Creswick, in succession to Sergeant Robinson, who will succeed Sergeant Kealy, of Ballarat East. Sergeant Kealy retires from the service next week.
Presentations have been made by the State School Teachers' Association to Messrs. J. McLeod and W. J. Fairlie, who have taken an active interest in the association, and have been transferred from Ballarat.
Sub-inspector Sampson was on Thursday congratulated by the Ballarat East magistrates upon his promotion to and first appearance in this district.
The call of the Rev. John Robertson to the Learmonth Church, in succession to the Rev. J. Smiley, has been-sustained by the presbytery. His induction was fixed for May 2.
A petition is to be presented by the Ballarat College Council to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, to take over the college as a public school of the church in Victoria. The Ballarat Presbytery has decided lo heartily recommend the petition to the assembly.
The overturning of a kerosene lamp was responsible for the destruction by fire on Thursday of two shops at Sebastopol. From the bootmaker's shop Mr. J. Tierney the flames spread rapidly to the adjoining premises, occupied by Thiessen Bros grocers. Excellent work was done by the brigade in preventing an extension of the outbreak to Mr J Rowland's shop, but the other places were destroyed. Thiesssen Bros' stock was insured for £500, and the fittings for £100; while the premises (which were owned by Mr W L Williams) were covered to the extent of £300. Mr Tierney was not insured.
On Friday a room at the rear of Thomas's supply stores, used for storing purposes, was gutted by fire. The damage is estimated at about £20.
Ballarat Band Competitions. (1915, October 23). Malvern Standard (Vic. : 1906 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66401213
Mr. Thomas was involved with the community.Drummers Allan again to the form
The annual band competitions at Ballarat have been in progress during the past week. In the music and marching contests for Highland Pipe Hands, the first prizes were won. by the South and Port Melbourne Thistle
Society's Pipe. Band, with substantial majorities of points. The bass drummer in the winning band was Master Brassey Allan, whilst one of the side drummers was Master Arthur Allan, The many admirers of these young drummer artists will be pleased at their success, which is but one of the many similar achievements they have to their credit. By their wins the South and Port Melbourne Thistle Society's Pipe Band have secured the Vice-Regal Challenge Cup, value 20 guineas, the gift of the Governor- General, and the Lauder Shield given by Mr. Harry Lauder for the music event, and the Dewar Challenge Cup, value 20 guineas, given by Messrs. John Dewar and Son Lita, of Scotland, for marching. The band's prize, money amounted to £50. Each of the bandsmen also win a gold medal. Mr. L. K. S- Mackinnon is president of the band.
The bugle band contest was won by Ballarat with 174 points, South Yarra, 49a, coming second with only one point less. Ballarat had as conductor Mr. P. Code, the well-known professional, and Master Brassey Allan acted in a similar capacity for South Yarra 49a. Young Allan was undoubtedly up against a tough proposition in meeting Mr. Code as an opponent, and it will be conceded that to be beaten by only one point was a meritorious performance.
The B Grade Senior Cadet competition was won by Prahran 19b, who thus secure a silver Challenge cup, presented by Mr. J. Thomas, of the Ballarat Supply Stores.
The champion brass band contest is to be concluded this evening. The Prahran and Malvern Tramways Band have great hopes of winning.
The Age - Nov 13, 1956 - Page 8 - http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...4763%2C1770697
£6800 Smash Grab Theft at Ballarat
BALLARAT, Monday. - A smash and grab thief threw a concrete block through a plate glass display window at Thomas Supply Stores, Sturt Street, Ballarat, at 4 a.m., today, and escaped with more than £6800 worth of watches.
The concrete smashed crystal glass shelves and two clocks.
The crash was heard by a nearby resident, who saw a man leaving the display window with a suitcase.
His wife kept the man under observation while the resident rang for the police.
A police patrol hurried to the scene and a search was made of the area without success.
Pads from the trays and watches were later found at the rear of premises in Little Bridge Street.
The Age - Jun 17, 1963 - Page 2 - http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...2713%2C2466675
Thieves Steal Watches in Ballarat
BALLARAT, Sunday. - Thieves escaped with £613 worth of watches after a smash-and-grab raid on a Sturt Street jewellery store last night.
They smashed a hold about 6 inches in diameter in the quarter - inch thick plate glass display window of Thomas' jewellers and removed 38 watches valued at £612/16/.
The Age - Dec 21, 1965 - Page 4 - http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...4287%2C3566366
A thief threw a brick through a Ballarat shop window yesterday morning and escaped with £2000 worth of jewellery.
The robbery occurred at 3 a.m. at Thomas The Jewellers, in Sturt Street.
Seventeen display pads of women's and men's rings were stolen.
Advertising. (1978, November 29). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 62. Retrieved October 22, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article51394250
The store is mentioned in the list of distributors
There's also this article about a watchmaker with 43 years experience that join the store - http://www.geelongadvertiser.com.au/..._business.html
Also, this article about Jim Thomas is also interesting - http://www.theaustralian.com.au/busi...-1226041191148