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My Shaving Ancestry

At the encouragement of Jake during my purchase of his Aristocrat #66, I thought I'd share some of my shaving history. This is going to be a bit long of a post, so be warned, but I hope it'll be worth it. I'm also throwing it in this forum due to the photo content below. So while it's general purpose, it's definitely straight related.

So, I've had a chronic problem with ingrown hairs on my neck. It runs in my family. My father had it to the point where he avoided jobs where he had to wear collared shirts & a tie. My brother & I both have it. I had resigned myself to crappy shaves, and had settled into a lifetime of shaving with a Norelco every other day in the shower.

Last year, I came across a link to an article on shaving. It was this lifehacker piece:

http://lifehacker.com/353912/shave-like-your-grandpa

Well, I figured I was game to try anything. So an order from Amazon later, I had a Merkur HD, some blades, a brush, and some soap...and I was good to go. I admit a bit of a rocky start with some crappy Merkur blades, but I definitely noticed that my neck was WAY better.

And off I went. I began to research razors, blades, soaps, aftershaves, alum, and the lot. I settled into a Red Tip Superspeed, some Red Personna blades, and I was making progress.

Concurrently, I for some reason got back into geneology. My family on my Dad's side had been in the Chicago area for a long time, and there were many arguments about where the home they had was on the north side. I then remembered that the same home they lived in was my great Grandfather's barber shop. I had even been named after him.

So it was then I began to realize that shaving was in my blood. I couldn't really explain any other reason why I began ordering and making spreadsheets for my razor blade purchases, or why I wanted to try old razors. Now I'm making my own shaving oil, and I've settled into Bluebirds with a Fat Boy, and I am DFS-BBS on a regular basis.

Since my father had the same shaving problems I did, I had mentioned to him my luck with DE shaving. He then told me about his razor collection, which also happened to include 4 straight razors that my great Grandfather had used in his shop! He was kind enough to allow me to pick two. And I did...and these are they.

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The bone one has "Red Point Razor" on the scale, and on the shank it says "Utica knife & razor company / Solingen, Germany" on one side:
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And "Red Point made in Germany" on the other
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The dark one has intricate carving on the scale,
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It's labeled "H.B. & Co. Germany" on one side of the shank, with an image of a tree.
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And "Hackett Walther Gates Hdwre Co" on the other.
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It also has a picture of a lion on the blade
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I've cut myself once on these blades already trying to handle them and just clean them off a touch, so they're still sharp, and to the best I can figure, my great Grandfather had these during the Great Depression. I haven't had much luck dating them, so I'd be interested in any feedback on these blades. I've been trying to find a single picture of my great Grandfather in his shop (one of my aunts still has one of his original barber chairs)...that'd make a nice view when I'm shaving.

So, the last piece of advice: anyone think I should bother looking into getting these restored? They're not all shiny-amazing, but they're hardly cruddy, either. I mean, the boxes aren't in great shape (and I can't even be sure they're the *right* boxes), but is it worth trying to have them restored?

Finally, a big thanks to this site and forums. Even though I've mostly been a lurker (and an occasional customer on the Marketplace), this site has been invaluable in my rekindling my genetic love for all things shaving. I've hopefully converted my brother and a friend, and if I ever encounter any other lost souls who need help with shaving, I sing the praises of B&B whenever I can.
 
Lucky you to have a couple of razors from Great-Grandad's shop! My mother's father was a barber who died young and several years before I was born. He had 3 adult sons at the time and I guess they absorbed what shaving gear there was - as they should have, of course.

Luckily my Mom hung onto a pair of barber shears which I have with me now. It's a nice thing to connect me to a grandfather I never knew, but I'd give my eye teeth to have a razor or a strop of his instead.

As to whether it's better to restore them or not, I think I'd put them aside and get a razor with less sentimental value to begin shaving with. You'll have a better perspective on what to do with them once you've got some str8 razor experience under your belt.

But that's just me :001_smile

Cheers,
Ian
 
To restore, or not to restore, that is the question.


The answer, I think you'll find, at least within this particular corner of the internet, would almost definitely be an overwhelming YES :thumbup:

Not just because those are beautifully stored razors (and most definitely restorable) but because they have that link to your family's past.

I'd say just getting them to someone who can give them a light clean up, and a honing, would make things really worth while for you. If this is your first attempt at restoration, I would definitely say don't do it yourself, get someone who has a good reputation to do it for you, and well, you'd be shaving with great grandaddy's razors in no time flat

As for the boxes, I'm thinking the red box is the original box for the black scaled razor, but that second box appears to be a mashed together odd child of some sort. Not, that I think most people here would be worried about the boxes the razors come with
 
To restore, or not to restore, that is the question.


The answer, I think you'll find, at least within this particular corner of the internet, would almost definitely be an overwhelming YES :thumbup:

Not just because those are beautifully stored razors (and most definitely restorable) but because they have that link to your family's past.

I'd say just getting them to someone who can give them a light clean up, and a honing, would make things really worth while for you. If this is your first attempt at restoration, I would definitely say don't do it yourself, get someone who has a good reputation to do it for you, and well, you'd be shaving with great grandaddy's razors in no time flat


Yes, it was my thinking to restore...but do most of the restoration places keep the scales? Both seem to be in good shape (other than possibly being a bit easy to open), but I was looking at restorations here, and many times the scale is replaced.

And yes, there's NO way I'd attempt a restoration on these myself. I see myself as a bit of a DIY type, but these are heirlooms, and I'm not going to risk destroying them while I learn.

Since a few here have mentioned the black one is a Boker...I don't see much in the way of date coding or numbers anywhere on it...how would I go about identifying/dating it?
 
Most restorations that have replacement scales on them, usually have shot scales to begin with, or the owner requests something 'nicer' then the standard scales (wapis and Filis come to mind, their scales tend to be not very good) If you request that the scales be saved, they will usually return to you with the scales still firmly attached

As for the black scaled beauty, There is information out there within the community that would assist the dating of said beast, This page suggests that your razor (Definitely a boker) was made between the first and second world wars.
 
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