From the end of World War One till the invention of multibladed system razors most men in Britain used a double edged safety razor, they were enjoying real shaving. So tens of millions of razors were made for Britain alone, where are they now? These old razors are now classics, sought after by collectors and by real shavers. How can I get my hands on some?
Looking at the adverts in the local papers and the online classifieds yielded a big fat zero. So it was off to the biggest car boot sale in the area. A long walk round yielded mountains of tat, but not a single razor. So now it was time for plan C, the charity shops.
Leamington Spa is a faintly gentrified town but retail has moved largely out of the centre. This combination leads to lots of charity shops, about a dozen, full of old tat. Some of it really quite interesting. But not a single razor. One assistant told me that they weren’t allowed to sell them because it involved blades! Another said that they had one in once. Not exactly promising.
So plan D, a visit to the recycling centre at the local tip. A huge shop with an amazing stock. It is almost unbelievable that we throw so much good stuff away. And yes, you guessed it, not a single razor. And, talking to them, there seemed little likelihood of them ever having one.
Next, in logical progression, it was plan E, the antiques warehouse, with lots of vendors under one roof. A slightly more upmarket version of the recycling centre. In fact I can visualise the antique vendors stocking up at the recycling centre. Once again a good look round yielded zero, so it was time to talk to the staff. Yes they do get them in. Occasionally. More interestingly one of the guys had spent his life doing house clearances. He told me that he had thrown hundreds of them on the tip.
So where are the tens of millions of safety razors now. I suspect that most of them are in landfills or melted down for their brass. So we aren’t going to see them again. A lot are just stored away with the normal domestic clutter in attics, basements and the bottoms of draws. Some kept for sentimental reasons, some out of apathy. These have the potential to resurface one day and to be used again.
The fact is that we are pretty much at the beginning of the movement back to real shaving, so most people don’t realise yet that it is happening. But it definitely is happening, the switched on members of the press know this as we have seen with the LA Times, CNN and Wall Street Journal articles. The online retailers are popping up and are thriving. The forums are getting ever busier.
Real shaving is a snowball that has just started rolling down the mountain. Soon the less switched on journalists will discover what is happening and will report it, mass conciousness will increase. And many of those razors now in attics and the bottoms of draws will surface again. Car boot sales and charity shops will be full of them. Until then the only sources are 1) Asking friends and family 2) eBay, especially the American listings 3) The for sale sections of the online forums. Good hunting!