Firstly a disclaimer, this is not a highly researched academic paper, just a romp around some of what I find interesting. There is a whole lot more information on Fido’s shaving brush blog. Europe is the traditional home of the top quality brands of shaving brushes, though nowadays most of the badger hair and often the whole knots and even the handles come from China. It is very difficult indeed for the buyer to know the true origin of the manufacturing and materials that make up any brush.
United Kingdom. The main traditional home of the quality shaving brush.
Kent Brush. Established in 1777 they are a general brush manufacturer but make a great range of shaving brushes that come beautifully presented.
Rooney. Once vied for being the very best of all brushes. Nowadays only sold online by a handful of retailers, it is difficult to establish where their factory is. I can’t even find a website for them.
Edwin Jagger. A big range of brushes at good value prices. The handles are hand turned in the UK and bought in knots are used.
New Forest. Fido has relatively small batches of brushes made to his specification in China. These are very highly regarded by the shaving community and are thought to represent fantastic value.
Isle of Man. This island nation in the middle of the Irish Sea is not part of the United Kingdom, it is a self governing British crown dependency.
Vulfix. This 60ish year old company moved to the Isle of Man from Manchester in 1954. They employ around 15 people which is a lot for a shaving brush company and make brushes that go out under many different brand names. I have two Trumper’s brushes that are almost certainly made by Vulfix, for instance.
Simpson’s. Originally based in London, then for many years in Somerset they were bought by Vulfix in 2008, since when quality is reckoned to have improved further. These are regarded by many as being the best shaving brushes that money can buy, some keen shavers build up large collections of the many different models. Little surprise that I have already written three articles here about them.
Semogue. A small family business whose products are very different from those of the British companies. They make badger brushes but are legendary in the shaving community for their boar bristle brushes which are widely held to be the very best available. You can buy them online from The Vintage Scent who have an excellent reputation.
Vie Long. A manufacturer of different kinds of brushes and other products they make some beautifully crafted shaving brushes but are most famous in the shaving community for their excellent horse hair range. They can be bought from Gifts and Care who offer a great service.
Omega. Possibly the biggest shaving brush company in Europe their massive range encompasses many price points. They vie with Semogue for the quality of their boar bristle brushes and their 48/49 models are very popular with enthusiasts.
Plisson. Making shaving brushes since 1808. Rightfully very expensive and beautifully made they provided Napoleon with the shaving brushes he used as he conquered Europe. One of the few places you can buy some brushes made from genuine European badger hair.
Shavemac. Absolutely gorgeous, almost artisan, brushes, many of which are custom made. They also do quality restorations.