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vintage shaving, way men shaved, vintage men's razor and shaving products.

Updated on October 2, 2012
Rasoir Acy a bronze razor from Bronze age
Rasoir Acy a bronze razor from Bronze age | Source
Honing stone, and straight razor
Honing stone, and straight razor | Source

History of razors

 Throughout history razors have been used to remove unwanted hair, at one time clamshells were use, shark’s teeth, and flint were sharpened and used for shaving. In the Bronze Age razors were made of obsidian, usually oval shaped. . In Egypt gold and copper razors were used as far back as the 4th millennium B.C. There are still tribes that use flint blade

The first modern razor—a straight razor—was made in Sheffield England. It had decorated handles in the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1740 Benjamin Huntsman produced the first superior hard grade steel. Sheffield Steele is still considered superior by some especially in France.

The wealthy in the 18th and 19th centuries either had servants shave them or went to barbers. Daily shaving was not popular yet and many men didn’t shave at all. For those that did shave the straight razor was the most popular.

The vintage straight razor is not used much now except by barbers.

Chrome safety razor
Chrome safety razor | Source
Shaving brush
Shaving brush | Source

Safety razor

Although safety razors were available in other countries in America King C. Gillette introduced the double edge safety razor with replaceable-disposable blades. They were not as effective but became popular, partly due to promotion and safety. Gradually the blades improved to use stainless steel, which didn’t rust like previous blades did.

Shaving since the 19th century for men has gone from the straight razor, which today is mostly used by professional barbers, to safety razors, followed by disposable razors and electric razors. Technology has followed from plug in electrics to battery run shavers.

Until the advent of the electric razor when a man shaved it was usually done by lathering the face with a brush and soap. Later various shaving creams and foams replaced the soap. Some applied with a brush and others not.

Facial hair comic.
Facial hair comic. | Source

My experience

I personally have never used a straight razor, primarily because I was rather afraid of them. As it happens my father who was born in 1900 was technologically ahead of me in this regard, he used an electric razor. He died before I was at the age to start shaving and my first shaving attempt was with his electric razor. It pulled the hair and was uncomfortable. At the time I didn’t realize the blades were probably worn out or dull. It discouraged me from electric shaving and I turned to the now vintage double edge safety razor. Now I sometime still use one of those and some times a  disposable razors.

For the last couple of years I have wanted to buy a new shaving brush. Not too long ago I know Walmart did have them. For awhile it seemed that double edge razor blades were hard to find, although they seem to be readily available now.

My shaving habits have changed from time to time. Although I often use throw away razors I  still keep a razor that takes a double edge blade. It was being sold as an antique at a garage sale. I have used a shaving cup with shaving soup and a brush. A brush also works well to get lather and spread on the beard even when using a foam shaving cream. Unfortunately brushes in recent years have tended to be poor quality and the brush hairs fall out, which is my present situation. Mainly I shave my neck, under my chin. My beard I trim with hair clippers. The foam dispenser usually gives me more than I want  and a large amount ends up going down the drain. Also it  lathesr better with a brush.

Safety razor shaving kit
Safety razor shaving kit | Source
a tube of vintage burma shave cream
a tube of vintage burma shave cream | Source
Rasierstift--steptic pencil used for small cuts while shaving.
Rasierstift--steptic pencil used for small cuts while shaving. | Source
Burma shave signs on route 66
Burma shave signs on route 66 | Source

Shaving Nostalgia


Burma Shave signs are bit of  vintage nostalgia that I grew up with. They typically  a jingle on a sequence of signs with some humor or serious twist. On as  close as I remember was:

“The Man

Who passes

On hills and curves

Is not a man

Of iron nerves

He’s crazy”


I think many people my age and a bit younger miss those signs. They probably wouldn’t be good on the freeway though.

Hairstyles have changed over the years. Facial hair has come and gone and come back again, but shaving is still a part of our culture.

Magazines, Television and billboards still promote various shaving products but I still prefer a  vintage double edge razor and a brush, if I can find them.

What is your preferred method of shaving

See results

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