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1920s-1940s Art Deco style razors

Northstonehill

Contributor
Gents, today I took delivery of a wonderful Kirby, Beard & Co razor from the 1920s or 1930s, a wonderful razor with a sea shell-type topcap and a unique sculpted handle.

The Kirbys are often referred to as ‘art deco’ in its design style, and looking at it inspired me to compare it to a few other same-age razors which were similarly sculpted a bit out of the ordinary, in handle or in head/comb design, probably also fitting the art deco moniker well.

A fast definition of ‘art deco’ on Wikipedia presented the description at the end of this post. Importantly Art Deco was not a single style, but a collection of different and sometimes contradictory styles all united by a desire to be modern. It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. American skyscrapers marked the summit of the Art Deco style: The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the 1920s and 1930s are such monuments of the style.

On the razor front it seems that the 1920s and 1930s presented several such razors clearly made with an artistic starting point, and not just ”sticking a round handle into a square baseplate”.

A few razor examples
The pictured 5 razors: Kirby Beard, Bohin, Eclipse Red Ring, Shavex Zee-Kol and Darwin Original all present very intricate and unique designs, flamboyant even. And they work really well too as shaving tools! All have great grip and provide a wonderful mild but efficient shave.

Hope you enjoy the pics — and even more that you will all share other examples of what you have in terms of similar art deco designs. I would love to collect your pictures. Maybe one of you will present the Italian Mirabilia razor, another superb art deco design, which remains on my bucket list of razors to get.

87039716-16A5-4A63-91BE-6431256390F5.jpeg 76EE71EC-636E-4D35-80A2-DD6649817640.jpeg F47433FC-9CA2-4EC5-A4B2-C14981B7FCE3.jpeg 08211E0B-8F10-4918-BBD3-0DD6C5A24591.jpeg

Quote from Wikipedia:
Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. It featured rare and expensive materials, such as ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship.

Art Deco was not a single style, but a collection of different and sometimes contradictory styles, all united by a desire to be modern. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism and the Vienna Secession; the bright colors of Fauvism and of the Ballets Russes; the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe I and Louis XVI; and the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art.
 

Northstonehill

Contributor
Thanks a lot fellas for your kind words.

As for mit shaver favorite I have to say the Eclipse, it hits my sweet spot on all counts: Balance, aggressiveness, ease of shave - and then on top it has a totally unique feel of that solid bar/open comb combination.

...Only disclaimer to this statement is that the Kirby is up for its inaugural shave tomorrow - I never shaved with that brand before, so we’ll see how it compares with the Eclipse :thumbup1:
 

Northstonehill

Contributor
Nice, Richard! That Ziglar is very very cool, although a wee bit less out-there design? - Except for the slant head the Krecht looks a lot like the Berkeley I have inbound from the US. This one has a very interesting built-in shim:

E9659DFC-CB60-4DE4-A40E-2789FA3AD1DD.jpeg 5FED0C95-8069-4E40-AD5F-4966E354311E.jpeg
 
Nearly the same handle Peter. Was used for the Hospital as well. I do believe it fits in this era though.
 
Nice post Peter. BTW... the year your Kirby was manufactured is on the top of the baseplate. The last two digits correspond to the year it was born. :) Let us know where it falls in the Art Deco timeframe.
 

Northstonehill

Contributor
Nice post Peter. BTW... the year your Kirby was manufactured is on the top of the baseplate. The last two digits correspond to the year it was born. :) Let us know where it falls in the Art Deco timeframe.
I love the Bohin. Is there much difference in aggressiveness when you flip the baseplate?
Oh, wow!
Please PM you address and days/weeks when you will be away for your summer holiday! :letterk1:
I don't know how much input Kirby Beard had on the design, but the razors were manufactured by Leresche.
Hope to hear your shaving experience with Kirby soon!! :)
Thanks fellas!

@Brent: Thanks for heads-up on dating the Kirby: She is a gorgeous model 1935. And thanks for sending her forward, sir!!

@Erik: Well, I personally don’t find a big difference between the Bohin flipped baseplates...

@Andon: Will do. Then you can also feed my 3 Rottweilers, they are always so dang hungry and aggressive when I go travelling :302:

@Mr. P: Just finished the first shave. And I went in with very high expectations as I used to own 2 OC Leresches which I found to be excellent mild shavers. And I just have to say: This was even better! I prefer solid bars and this baby just delivers. First non-Tech shave that feels like a Tech. Easy and intuitive. The handle is longer and thinner than my usual preference but it has fine grip. Me like this!! :001_tt1:
 
@Mr. P: Just finished the first shave. And I went in with very high expectations as I used to own 2 OC Leresches which I found to be excellent mild shavers. And I just have to say: This was even better! I prefer solid bars and this baby just delivers. First non-Tech shave that feels like a Tech. Easy and intuitive. The handle is longer and thinner than my usual preference but it has fine grip. Me like this!! :001_tt1:
[/QUOTE]

Thanks for sharing your shaving experience! Glad to hear you enjoy shaving with the razor :)
 

BigJ

Ambassador
Gents, today I took delivery of a wonderful Kirby, Beard & Co razor from the 1920s or 1930s, a wonderful razor with a sea shell-type topcap and a unique sculpted handle.

The Kirbys are often referred to as ‘art deco’ in its design style, and looking at it inspired me to compare it to a few other same-age razors which were similarly sculpted a bit out of the ordinary, in handle or in head/comb design, probably also fitting the art deco moniker well.

A fast definition of ‘art deco’ on Wikipedia presented the description at the end of this post. Importantly Art Deco was not a single style, but a collection of different and sometimes contradictory styles all united by a desire to be modern. It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. American skyscrapers marked the summit of the Art Deco style: The Chrysler Building and other skyscrapers of New York built during the 1920s and 1930s are such monuments of the style.

On the razor front it seems that the 1920s and 1930s presented several such razors clearly made with an artistic starting point, and not just ”sticking a round handle into a square baseplate”.

A few razor examples
The pictured 5 razors: Kirby Beard, Bohin, Eclipse Red Ring, Shavex Zee-Kol and Darwin Original all present very intricate and unique designs, flamboyant even. And they work really well too as shaving tools! All have great grip and provide a wonderful mild but efficient shave.

Hope you enjoy the pics — and even more that you will all share other examples of what you have in terms of similar art deco designs. I would love to collect your pictures. Maybe one of you will present the Italian Mirabilia razor, another superb art deco design, which remains on my bucket list of razors to get.

View attachment 1075232 View attachment 1075233 View attachment 1075234 View attachment 1075235

Quote from Wikipedia:
Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress. It featured rare and expensive materials, such as ebony and ivory, and exquisite craftsmanship.

Art Deco was not a single style, but a collection of different and sometimes contradictory styles, all united by a desire to be modern. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism and the Vienna Secession; the bright colors of Fauvism and of the Ballets Russes; the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe I and Louis XVI; and the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art.
Fabulous post!! Congratulations on some lovely razors!! :a29: :a29:
 
I don't know if this razor handle fits into this Art Deco category. It has no brand name, but it looks like it was from that period.

IMG_0505 pink.JPG
 
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