BLADE and SHAVE June 2016 by Bob Hall


BLADE and SHAVE June 2016 by Bob Hall

June 2016

Volume III, No. 2

Editor’s Note

Summer is just about here and it’s time for another

edition of Blade & Shave. I want to thank those who

responded with articles and photos for our reading

and viewing pleasure. Lynn Abrams, Jack Hayes,

John West, Henri Lajer and Robert Waits. Those of

you who haven’t contributed or are maybe thinking

about it, please send something for the next issue this

fall. I have had many positive comments about all the

past contributions so share your knowledge with all

of us. Don’t forget to register for this year’s 13 th

National Shaving Collectibles Extravaganza October

22 and 23. A registration form is included in this

issue. Enjoy the June 2016 Blade & Shave!

Bob Hall, Editor

Razor Blade Banks

Submitted by Jack Hayes

Back in the mid 1980’s, when my interest for

collecting barber items was tweaked, I was

introduced to Phil Krumholtz’s book: “Value Guide

for Barberiana and Shaving Collectibles”. In the

book there was a section on razor blade banks that

caught my attention and immediately I set my goal to

add a few of those banks to my meager barber

collection which adorned our master bathroom. My

ventures to locate a couple razor blade banks resulted

in finding several banks which made me suspicious

as to their true nature of being a razor bank. It was not

until 1998 when Lester Dequaine

published his book: “An Illustrated History and Price

Guide” that a clear definition of what was a genuine

razor blade bank appeared in his book. In this article

I intend to relay to you what defines a razor blade

bank, give examples of what is not considered a true

razor blade bank and present some

myths/misconceptions of defining a coin bank from a

razor blade bank.


A razor blade bank is defined as a receptacle used for

the storage and eventual disposal of used razor

blades. It can usually be set upon a counter top or

hung on the wall. Many razor blade banks have

writing on them that states their purpose such as ‘For

Used Blades’ or ‘Gay Old Blades’. Others may have

a poem printed on them about shaving or blade

disposal. A blade bank can be a figure such as a

barber, barber chair, barber brush, barber pole or

barber shop quartet which makes its purpose obvious.

There is also a category of blade banks which would

be in doubt except for the existence of independent

evidence such as a sales brochure, advertisement,

U.S. patent or an accompanying tag or rhyme.

Finally, there are product containers that suggest

when their contents are used up, they can be used as

a razor blade bank.


The following items I do not consider to be true razor

blade banks:

1. Blade holder tins for wedge blade razors;

2. Blade holders in razor sets inscribed “New”

or “Used”;

3. Razor blade vaults for new and used blades;

4. Plastic or metal blade dispenser cartridges.



Collectors of razor blade banks encounter many

different kinds of banks throughout their search. A

majority of these are intended to be receptacles for

coins rather than razor blade banks. It is usually the

dealer/seller who states that the following list makes

these banks for used razor blades. However, none of

the following qualities has relevance in defining a

receptacle as a blade bank:

1. Hole at the base;

2. No hole at the base;

3. Can be hung on a wall;

4. Small size;

5. Narrow or small slot;

6. Key lock.

edition of Howard Hazelcorn's Guide to Kampfe

Razors, the two-piece tubular handle may have

appeared on Star razors soon after 1884 as a smooth

un-embossed handle. Later handles up to about 1887

had an embossed dot pattern. Later 1887 razor

handles had the star pattern. Kampfe finally got

around to filing for a U.S Design patent on the star

embossed handle in September, 1894 (the patent

expired in 1901). Since handles are interchangeable,

there are likely to be "mis-handled" razors around.

So look for the 1876 patent date on your tubular

razor handles, no matter what brand the razor.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Hayes

Nevertheless, these last two issues can pose a

dilemma for a blade bank collector. A good rule of

thumb to follow is: “when in doubt, pass it up.” There

are enough readily identifiable blade banks available

to build an attractive and desirable collection.

The Unknown Kampfe Patent: An


Submitted by Robert Waits

In the June 2014 Blade & Shave I wrote that I

believed that at one time Philip Schrag’s October

24, 1876 patent (US 183710) was listed in some

Kampfe catalogs, ads, or tins, but I had not been

able to track down an example. The problem was

solved by Jeff and Jack Hayes, collectors of U.S.

made safety razors. Strangely, the date was found on

the handle of a 1900s-era Winchester safety razor,

and so noted by the sharp-eyed on-line seller. It

turned out to possibly be the wrong handle for a

Winchester razor but may be the correct handle for a

Kampfe Star razor. The date is shown as OCT. 24.

76 along with the Kampfe trademark stars in the

photo here. The patent is stamped right where it

belongs: on the handle.

As they did many other patents, it is quite likely that

Kampfe licensed the patent, possibly when so

requested by Mr. Schrag, According to the 3rd


A Favorite Find

Submitted by Robert Waits

This mahogany-finish wood Pears soap company glassfront

display for safety razor blades was discovered in

a San Jose, Calif. antiques cooperative. Pears was a

British company so the pigeon-hole labels included

local products. Over time I found near-appropriate

blade packets to fill in the empty slots. The gold

lettering at the bottom reads:



Those Fabulous French Straight


Submitted by Henri Lajer

Twenty-five years ago, I bought my first straight at

the Nashville Fairgrounds and almost immediately

decided that I wanted to know more about this simple

object dear to every man’s heart. I say simple because

all have the same handle and blade combination –

that’s it. But what is fascinating is how ingenious and

creative the makers were in coming up with so many

different designs from just plain to museum-worthy

treasures. My favorite razors are the earlier ones

from the 18 th to mid-19 th century, most of which are

made of organic materials such as tortoise shell, cow

bone and, starting around 1800 we see the appearance

of ivory, mother-of-pearl and buffalo horn. Some of

the most beautiful razors in my estimation are the

early French razors that may not be as well known to

the American collector since France did not export

large quantities of razors as did England and later

Germany. Many French makers were unequaled in

their craftsmanship, as many high-end razors were

made by gold- and silversmiths: they were true

artists. These French razors are much sought-after

but quite difficult to find. Here is a selection from my

personal collection, all French and Fabulous for your

viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

A Favorite Find

Submitted by John West

Hand carved ivory eagle razors, made in England.

Yours truly – Henri Lajer


Animals and flowers, silver inlays, tortoise shell, circa 1760s

French casques – ivory and tortoise shell with helmet ends..

circa 1800 (Napoleon 1 st )

Aluminum, Paris Expo, 1900 (front)

Aluminum, Paris Expo, 1900 (back)

Ivory French set with interchangeable blades

Ivory pair with silver ends, 1820s


French one-handle, tortoise shell with big jewel, 7 day set, circa


Gorgeous mother-of-pearl pair with gold tips and ends,

belonged to Murat (Napoleon 1st brother-in-law), Marshall of

France and King of Naples and Sicily, circa 1812, even the

blades are overlaid with gold

Various examples of ivory and tortoise shell razors from 1800s

French or Venetian mid 1700’s beautiful and elegant tortoise

shell razor with fabulous silver ends; most likely part of an

ornate 7 day set.

French one-handle six day set, circa 1830s


Vallon a Paris.. tortoise shell with ornate end and blade, 1820

Beautiful French ivory pair with unusual gold ends and shields,


Superbly made tortoise shell razor with gold pique inlay, 1875

Pouzaux a Tarbes.. one-handle six day set, tortoise shell with

gold helmet and shield, 1800

Benefits of Straight Razor Shaving?

Submitted by Lynn Abrams,

This is a great old thread from Check out Razor Pete’s

comments. He is a dermatologist, I think.

French double-bladed razors, 1800

Original query from Lynn

So, for a while I have wondered whether there were

any benefits from straight razor shaving other than

the pleasure of it and the really nice, close shaves.

The tradition of the mug, brush and soap along with

all the great fragrances and razors out there have

always been enough for me, but is there any benefit

to the skin? Is the exfoliation good for your skin? Are

there any other benefits to the skin from using a

straight razor? Are there any products that are better

for your skin than others or is it simply a matter of


what skin type you have? See the information below

posted by RazorPete. What do you guys think?

Straight razor shaving, a variant of


Thanks Lynn for bringing this topic up. And I would

like to comment. I apologize in advance if I start to

sound kind of like a blow hard but I am just trying to

put forward my idea as to what I think straight razor

is doing and how it might help people's skin.

So to begin with, I think everyone can agree that

straight razor shaving removes (exfoliates) skin cells

from the outer layer of the skin. Done daily, it’s a

mild repetitive injury that forces the skin to produce

new skin cells to regenerate. Injury sounds like a

bad thing for the skin, but actually there are some

studies which show that mild repetitive injury to the

skin surface is actually beneficial. First off, it causes

the skin to become smoother, and I think all of us

can appreciate that quality on our skin after we

straight razor shave. That’s one benefit. But also

there may be benefits deeper in the skin too, that can

help the effects of the aging process. Let me explain


It’s very well established that chronic exposure to

the sun over many years decreases collagen

production in the skin. Collagen is the thick fibrous

stuff that makes leather strong. Obviously it does the

same thing for living skin too, and if you lose it,

then your skin gets thin and wrinkly. That’s what

causes aged skin to look the way it does. The face is

one of the areas which gets the most sun, and as a

result, it gets the most aging changes.

There is a technique called microdermabrasion,

which involves the rubbing of small salt or

aluminum chloride crystals on the skin to produce a

controlled superficial trauma. Done repetitively this

gradually improves photo damaged skin by

stimulating new collagen deposition in the skin

which makes skin thicker and firmer and reverses

wrinkling. This is well known, and I include below a

couple of references from peer reviewed medical

journals to back this up.

If straight razor shaving produces a mild superficial

trauma to the skin similar to microdermabrasion,

and there is no reason to think that it would not, then

it’s reasonable to believe that straight razor shaving

could also have similar anti-aging effects compared

to microdermabrasion, especially if performed on a

regular (daily) basis. It would be interesting to

perform clinical trials to further validate this.

Anyway, this is what I think straight razor shaving

itself might be doing to the skin. This does not take

into account what effects products associated with

straight razor shaving, such as balms, etc., might

also have on your skin.

I tend to think that if you apply sun screen after a

morning straight razor shave before you leave the

house for the day, you would be doing as much or

even more for your skin's overall health by further

inhibiting the photo aging process.

I welcome further discussion by my fellow straight

razor place friends, on what I think is an important

topic here.

Cheers, Pete

Microdermabrasion: a review. [Facial Plast Surg.

2004] - PubMed Result

Microdermabrasion: eMedicine Otolaryngology and

Facial Plastic Surgery

No part of this publication may be

reproduced or transmitted in any form by

any means, electronic or mechanical,

including photocopying, recording or by

any information storage and retrieval

system, without previous permission, in

writing, from the Editor.



13 h National Shaving Collectibles Meeting

October 22-23, 2016

West Chester, Ohio, USA


(Please Print)





$65 individual

$85 individual plus spouse/significant other

Please send the appropriate registration fee, payable to Jerry Rosenthal,

along with this form to:

Jerry Rosenthal

7436 Quail Run Drive

West Chester, OH 45069

or payment may also be made through PayPal, using the email address

Please check your primary collecting interests:

Safety Razors

Stroppers and


Razor Blades

Blade Banks/Tins

Shaving Mugs

Shaving Brushes

Straight Razors

Razor Hones

Signs and Advertising Items

Advertising Literature

Barber Bottles


I would like a table at the meeting for exhibiting, swapping, or selling my collectibles.

Tables are 2’ x 5’. Table limit is 2/registrant. More tables may become available closer to

the meeting date.



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