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Thread: Joseph Elliot's Best Silver Steel

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    Nic by name not by nature Jeltz's Avatar
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    Default Joseph Elliot's Best Silver Steel

    Just taken delivery of an Ebay win.

    Joseph Elliot's Best Silver Steel, 6/8 Barbers notch, (near) full wedge with horn scales. It is in need of some, hopefully, light restoration and honing.

    My 1st Wedge and 1st barbers notch....

    There is a small chip on the end of the scales but that's character due to age, the spacer might be pewter or lead and I was slightly surprised that it has no Jimps either top or bottom. Looks like it will clean up OK but I guess we'll see. No mention of the town of manufacture but I'm assuming its a Sheffield razor.

    Any ideas date wise would be great, I guess a clue might be when silver steel was 1st used at least then I would have a no older than date.





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    I think what you have there has got a very slight hollow grind to it if the bevel and spine wear are anything to go by. You get most of the feel of a wedge without the tedium of having to hone both full sides of the blade but you that already!

    Faraday published his research in 1820 (he was trying to emulate wootz/damascus and make a tarnish resistant alloy) and gave out ingots of the new alloy to several people, including razor makers. Other razor makers put small runs into production, eg Rhodes of Sheffield. This provoked Faraday to employ Sanderson of Sheffield to make more of the metal for him, which was sold to other razor makers.

    However, the use of the alloy was short-lived, mainly because it was supposed to be more tarnish resistant but in actuality was not. The name was retained though, even when the silver content of the alloy was no longer added, until eventually today (and for 100+ years or so) all silver steel is just high carbon, bright tool steel.

    I don't think your razor has the actual silver alloy in it - it doesn't look anywhere near old enough, but I could be wrong of course! I see a lot of razors around 1890 - 1900 in this design, but it probably goes back before 1890 too.

    Regards,
    Neil

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    Nic by name not by nature Jeltz's Avatar
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    Thanks for that I've also been directed to this site which says
    ELLIOT, JOSEPH
    Sheffield
    Trademark: C reversed and C, with cross between
    1821-1854 ("More Old Razors" by Lummus. Antiques, May 1927 p.372-374)
    If that's correct it would be over 150 years old

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    Senior Member Joe Edson's Avatar
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    Looks like it can clean up pretty well. Never honed a wedge or near wedge myself but may have at it this weekend. Enjoy your razor

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeltz View Post
    If that's correct it would be over 150 years old
    Yeah, I know.

    With vintage razors, you get used to it.

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    Nic by name not by nature Jeltz's Avatar
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    I have a couple that I believe to have been produced between WW1 & WW2 but nothing C19, I quite like the idea that it might have been made during the reign of Queen Victoria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeltz View Post
    Thanks for that I've also been directed to this site which says

    If that's correct it would be over 150 years old
    It could well be correct, though I would tend to place it as mid 1840s - 1850s as the lower cut-off period - that's just my humble opinion though - I don't really know for sure. I do know that the style stayed in vogue for quite some time, though.

    Henry Lummus is quite an authority - and even though he lamented the fact that there was so little printed information available to him (in the 1920s and before) he must have been able to get his hands on much more than we can! Maybe because he was a bit of a vintage gent himself (born 1876) he had a better insight into this world.

    Razor collecting for him was a hobby pursued in whatever liesure time he had according to his contemporaries - he studied law at school and went on to become Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, a full-time job and then some. Although unlike most avid collectors (his private collection was huge) he had the luxury of his words being recorded in print. Nearly all his other numerous writings, essays and books were about Law.

    Bill Ellis has some interesting points to make about Mr Lummus, among which he quotes him as stating:

    F. Reynolds razors were worthless,
    styles and workmanship became inferior after the civil war, and
    no better razor was ever made than a wedge.
    Those statements may well be contentious for some and agreed with by others, but Mr Ellis makes the point that all the essays Mr Lummus wrote about razors were from the standpoint of a collector (and I conjecture based on his extensive collection) and that it was just as easy to have wrong information in 1922 as it is today, a point I totally agree with. We are all human, after all.

    So - nothing is written in stone - even though it may be stamped on steel!

    Regards,
    Neil

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    They clean up nice and shave wonderfully. I lucked into one that did not look like had ever touched a hone. After a bit of TLC and some new scales is a staple in my shaving rotation.
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    JBHoren and Shaggy8675 like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph99833 View Post
    What are these worth? I have an opportunity to purchase one. Have not seen it yet....Ralph
    As noted here SRP rules of conduct - Straight Razor Place Wiki, we don't do valuations in the forum.
    It was in original condition, faded red, well-worn, but nice.
    This was and still is my favorite combination; beautiful, original, and worn.
    -Neil Young

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    Ooops! Strike one? Sorry....

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