What do you guys class as "an original Simpson brush"?

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by Gary Young, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. I have been trawling through some of the old threads (back to 2008) on here that relate to Simpson brushes. Certain threads have caught my eye, especially ones relating to original Simpson/pre-Vulfix and post-Vulfix. Just a question on my part, do you class the David Carter era as 'original' Simpson? Would like to know the concensus.

  2. No expert, Gary but in my mind, I think of Prefix.

    The better question is, what do YOU qualify as "original"?

    I'll be interested to see others responses as well. This is such an educational forum:thumbup:

  3. Ken

    Well call me biased but I look at it this way...

    If a barber from Trumpers ended up working at another salon would you still call it 'having an original Trumpers shave'?

    In my mind an original Simpson brush is one that was made when the Simpson family still owned and ran the business - i.e. up until when we passed the business on to David Carter, not when he passed it on to Vulfix.

  4. And that was in 1990?

    I get that. Makes more sense. My Simpson's knowledge is somewhat limited, having just recently acquired my first (which I'm loving! BTW)

    You probably mentioned this already but when did the company transfer to Vulfix, then?

  5. To answer this question, we must look at the time frame.

    Classic wet-shaving is a relatively new phenomena amongst men these days. Most men, at least in the States, use multi-bade cartridge razors and canned shaving cream. These items work, but now many men are starting to buy shaving creams and soaps that work with shaving brushes. The wet-shaving phenomena started in the early 2000's with gorups like Straight Razor Place and Wetshavers. Most people on this and other boards started classic wet-shaving in the last decade.

    Taking that all into account, when you see people talk about "Original Simpson Brushes," "Pre-Vulfix Brushes," or "Somerset Brushes" in older threads; you should assume they are talking about brushes made after the sale of the original Simpson's brand to David Carter. There is nothing to be offended about with this because most people have a history with wet-shaving starting with that time period of Simpson shaving brush manufacture.

    Gary, with you being on the boards now, people will probably start making the following references: Original Simpson Brushes (your family's brushes), The Carter "Simpson" Brushes, and the Vulfix-Simpson Brushes.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  6. Vuflix acquired the "Simpson" brand from David Carter in 2008.
  7. I support this!

  8. For those not in the know, who was David Carter exactly?
  9. I would have to disagree with it being a relatively new phenomenon. There was a dip in the late 80s in the US but we were selling brushes to Cable Car, Macys, Brooks Brothers way before then and used to have an agent based in New York just after the Second World War.
  10. Well, wet-shaving has an old history dating hundreds of years. But as far as these boards go, most people probably started wet-shaving in the last decade. Because of this, most of us have not had the chance to shave with one of your shaving brushes, Gary. Some of us have been fortunate to find and re-knot some of your family's brushes, though.

    Some of those brushes can be found in this thread with brushes also made by your old competitors:


    I consider an original Simpson brush to be one made by your family's company. :thumbup:

    That said, I think Vulfix is trying its best to keep the integrity of the brand intact.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  11. Great! I also class an original as one of ours! Each brush would have had at least one of the Simpson family handle it and help towards its making so I class that as original as it can get!

    For the record (again!) for all you guys out there buying Vulfix brushes. I think Mark and his staff are doing a tremendous effort in getting the quality and esteem back into the Simpson brushes. They had a hard task when they took over the reins in 2008 and I can only see them going from strength to strength. Yes it is a new chapter in the Simpson story but I have every faith in what they trying to achieve and I wish them all the very best on behalf of the original clan. (Pretty sure Mark already knows that he has my thumbs up!)
  12. I agree with Gary about the very high quality of the current Vulfix-Simpsons brushes.

    Last year I purchased a Tulip 3 with the two band silvertip. I find the combination of softness with some back bone to be fantastic.

    I like my Tulip so much that today I ordered a Polo 8 from Bullgoose. Bulgoose sells the Polo 8 with the same fabulous two band silvertip.

  13. My 2 cents.

    Honestly, most everybody that I have noticed separates only 2 periods: Pre and Post Vulfix; from about a year or so ago, terminology has even developed and you will find Somerset and Simfix to refer to each period. The reason, I think, is that we can only make an educated guess at what went on. Before Vulfix took over, there really is no real history to go by and we are left to differentiate a timeline based on whether the brush has a lampblack stamp or a laser engraved name; even that I have learned, is a blurry aging mark.

    We would love to learn how to tell a Carter era brush from a Simpson family era one. As a matter of fact, how do we tell a Somerset made brush from an even earlier made brush; is it the bakelite?, models in particular that originated in Somerset and those that have died along the way.

    I think that is why your appearance has made such a stir, we simply want to know more. We want to know it all :w00t:
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  14. On the forums (as far as I know), and "original" Simpson would be a brush made before Vulfix took over. Until now, I haven't seen much discussion of pre-Carter/post-Carter, probably because most people don't own brushes that were made before the 90s.
  15. I really like the brushes being made now. My only real complaint is the refusal to make fan-shaped 2-band brushes. I've got a brush from when the Simpson family were in charge (Chubby 2 "Best") and had one from in between (David Carter era, Chubby 2 "Super"). Both are/were good brushes, but I haven't found a hair I like as well as the current "Best" grade stuff, not only from Simpson, but anywhere (I really like Rooney Finest, but current Simpson "Best" outclasses it as a daily brush hair imho). The hair in my Simpson-era "Best" is softer than my "Super" brushes though. I don't know if that's due to the hair used or if that just a result of aging (it is likely 30+ yrs old).

    I'd be curious to try a more recent Simpson-era Best and a Carter-era Best to see how they compare to the current Best grade. If I see something come up on BST when I've got a little spare coin laying around, I may have to snag it up.

    Most people seem to see brushes as either "Somerset" or "Vulfix". So I guess where the brush was made is what really makes the distinction in people's minds.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  16. maxman

    maxman Moderator Emeritus

    Having the understanding now of part of the history of the Simpson name and the excellent brushes Progress/Vulfix is making under the Simpson names, I find the slang term Simfix to be a little insulting. It doesn't allow Simpson brushes of this point in history to stand alone.

    Now that we have all this new information regarding Simpson history, Simfix seems to be a negative word. The disambiguation between the brushes needs to be made in a positive light to be fair to everyone.

    I'm as guilty as anyone of saying it, but in my defense, I really didn't understand why. I just knew that the Vulfix made Simpsons were different from the Original ones.

    Having said all that I would say that an Original Simpson is one made by the family. All others are just Simpson brushes. It's the same for many products.
    In guitars, people often talk about pre-CBS Fenders. That is seen as the great shift in ownership and manufacture. Since then, there hasn't been another major shift that anyone cares about. The product is being made to specification and people accept that.

    It would seem for the Simpson brush history, once the production left the family, it was the end of an era. Subsequently, any major shift in production would have to be assessed against its predecessor on the merits of the brush, not by who manufactures it.

    If the new owners were to change production drastically, and the consumers noticed it, then there would be a huge backlash. Judging by the reviews here and all the positive comments, the current Simpson brushes are being made to high standards.

    In short, a modern Simpson is not a Vulfix. It is a Simpson and the company is trying their best to keep them a premium brand (and succeeding). Original Simpsons are held in very high esteem. But that comes only from having the knowledge of the history of them. The Original name, which is known for their extremely high quality is what's keeping the current builds going.

    Gary you know you've done well when you build a product that stands at the top of the class, even within it's own name. We wouldn't have to separate your family made brushes if they weren't the best of the best.
  17. Anything pre-Vulfix I class as original. As far as I'm aware the Carter era made brushes to the same specs, from the same materials, and employed (I believe?) some of the same staff. The ownership is neither here nor there. Now Vulfix has the factory moved to the Isle of Man and is producing in some cases brushes with very different charestistics to the brushes of yore. The only real continuity is the brand name*, whereas from what I can gather the only discontinuity from the Simpson family era and the Carter era is the ownership.

    *not a knock on Vulfix, my favourite brush is a Simpson Chubby 1 in best made by Vulfix, but there's no doubt they're producing way too many funky shaped brushes.
  18. Please keep in mind that the majority of us were ignorant of Simpson history until you so kindly enlightened us.

    If there is a way to tell the difference between your family brushes and the Carter era brushes, then a new class of Simpson is created. Where there were but two, potentially there are three.
  19. 2 of our staff were employed by David Carter. The 2 main staff who solely made our shaving brushes did not move over. Stan and Beryl took retirement. MArjorie and Russell who did move over didn't make many shaving brushes beforehand. They tended to make the hairbrushes we made (Coates). The main difference, apart from the staff, was the machinery. All our original brushes were made on machinery powered by a water wheel.
  20. I own a Pre-Vulfix Simpsons, and although I wouldn't say that it is necessarily any better than the new brushes, it really has a lot of character and I am very happy to own one.

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