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Thread: how old is that straight razor?

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    Default how old is that straight razor?

    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?
    Last edited by Luc; 10-28-2011 at 03:37 AM.
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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    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

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    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

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    Based on the tail, I found this picture helpful, posted by Johnmrson


    Other than that, I like to check these references;
    Uniclectica's Miscellanea Files
    German Razor Makers
    Scotland Street, Sheffield See post #8
    Last edited by Mike H; 10-28-2011 at 07:20 AM. Reason: cleaned up formatting
    Mike

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    Also a listing by date of Scotland Street in Sheffield

    http://www.sheffieldhistory.co.uk/fo...otland-street/
    Last edited by Mike H; 10-28-2011 at 06:31 AM.
    Mike

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    Love the idea of this thread, I know I've asked about a couple

    Quote Originally Posted by YetiDave View Post
    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
    Straight Razors - a brief history of their development 1820 - 1850
    Straight Razors - a brief history of their development 1850 - 1950

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    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.
    Evan

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    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

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    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?
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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    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

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    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...

    Last edited by Kentos; 10-29-2011 at 11:55 AM.
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    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 typePotential dates
    Picture 1Date Range
    Picture 2Date Range
    Picture 3Date Range

    Tail typePotential dates
    Picture 1Date Range
    Picture 2Date Range
    Picture 3Date Range

    Scales typePotential dates
    Picture 1Date Range
    Picture 2Date Range
    Picture 3Date Range

    CountrySpecifications
    EnglandStraights Stamped with Country of origin between 9999-9999
    France?
    Japan?
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavik79 View Post
    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...
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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    I have a few old stub tails that still have their original scales. I can provide pics if they will help the project.
    -David

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    Quote Originally Posted by legion View Post
    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!
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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    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



    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.
    Last edited by Legion; 10-29-2011 at 06:05 PM.
    -David

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    Nice! Can you take a close up of the tails?
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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    Check!



    BTW, those are cm squares on the cutting board, if that helps for scale.
    Last edited by Legion; 10-29-2011 at 06:15 PM.
    -David

    Australia? Visit the Great Southern Land!

    WWHLD?

    Wake me up when Laphroaig releases an aftershave.
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    Perfect!

    So those would be between 1775-1810 or 1810-1835?
    Cheers, Luc - My Gear(Wiki) - Have a question, PM a mod. That's why we're here!

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