Wilkinson Razors Through the Ages - 1890-1952
Wilkinson & Son entered the shaving market during the 1850’s when their records show customers being supplied with specially selected open razors made for them by leading London makers.
In the early 1890’s following their design and patenting of machinery to produce the perfect hollow ground edge to a blade, Wilkinson Sword Co Ltd (Incorporated in 1889) introduced ‘The Figaro’ open razor.
The ‘Figaro’ London Hollow Ground Razor 1893
These razors were supplied in four blade widths and either singly (as above), pairs, fours or seven, (one for every day of the week and etched with the day on the rounded top of the blade.)
It was another ten years before Wilkinson patented their Safety Shaver, which was launched in 1903, winning a gold medal for excellence the following year.
The razor featured a number of revolutionary improvements to the safety razor such as Wilkinson’s ‘Patent Anti Friction Roller’ which, unlike the crude combs of other safety razors, gave a smooth rolling action over the face and fed the lather onto the cutting edge of the blade.
Wilkinson Patent Safety Shaver 1903.
The success of the razor, which was sold singly and in larger sets with three, four or seven blades, encouraged Wilkinson Sword Co Ltd to produce other razors and shaving ancillaries.
(Courtesy of Renzo Jardella)
With both Open and Safety Razors to cater for the two different markets, Wilkinson Sword now set out to improve and perfect their designs and in the next fifty years became leaders in an already fast moving shaving market.
1907 Pall Mall Safety Razor 7 Day Set
Double edged ‘Wafer’ blade razor 1908
1912 ‘Strong Beard’ Safety Razor
1920 Pall Mall Safety Razor
1921 Pall Mall Safety Razor
1923 Pall Mall Hollow Ground Razor
1925 Pall Mall Hollow Ground razor
1928 Gilt & Ivory Pall Mall Razor
for Alfred Dunhill USA
1928 De Luxe Pall Mall razor set in Crocodile case
1930 The ‘Empire’ Self Stropping Razor.
Deluxe Empire Razor 1930-1935
(Top E40 and E35 -Centre E35 Jubilee set-Bottom E27 [Plain wood box not covered with skin as the E40 and E35 and leather as Jubilee model)
1933-1935 Model E21 Empire razor with deluxe gilt model with red lined case top centre.
1935 ‘ Empire’ Razor produced for the Silver Jubilee
1936 Empire E21 De luxe gilt 7 day set
1947 Wilkinson ‘Rocker’ Razor
1936-1952 Wilkinson 7 Day ‘Empire’ Razor
1949 Wilkinson W12 ‘Popular’ ‘Empire’ Razor and
1950 Wilkinson W19 ‘Empire’ Razor
1952 W 20 ‘Empire’ Razor
Production of the Empire razor ceased in 1952/3. It was to be 4 years before Wilkinsons again entered the razor market and this time with a blade that would revolutionise shaving!
(The very early dispenser lid card did not have the word 'stainless')
It wasn't until 1968 that Wilkinsons finally designed, produced and marketed a razor for their double edge 'Super Sword Edge' stainless blades.