Saturday, October 21, 2006

Wilkinson Razors Through the Ages - 1890-1952

Wilkinson Razors - "The Name on the World's Finest Blade"
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 Large deluxe set 1903

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.

Wilkinson Patent Safety Shaver 1903 Deluxe set with silver plated razor and ivory handle.
(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

1925 Head Details - Flat Plate milled head and shaped plate and flat head.

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!
Wilkinson Sword Edge 5 Blade dispenser 1956.
(The very early dispenser lid card did not have the word 'stainless')

"Mr Sword" counter/shelf dispenser 1956.
Within two years, in 1958, Wilkinsons produced the 'Sword Edge' razor. Of innovative design it was never marketed due to problems with staining on the nylon head on which the stainless blade rested.
It wasn't until 1968 that Wilkinsons finally designed, produced and marketed a razor for their double edge 'Super Sword Edge' stainless blades.

This was followed in 1977 when the New Classic 'Flip Top' razor was launched with its unique side hinged opening head.

In 1970, Wilkinsons patented and introduced The Bonded razor-the system razor that really revolutionised the shaving market!!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

What Readers Say who bought the book or cd

Renzo Jardella said...

This is without question the best reference work on a single razor manufacturer produced so far.It is a great addition to the razor collecting fraternity. WELL DONE!!!
RJ England

They’ve all got beards…

That’s the thought that strikes you when you first see the photograph of the late nineteenth century board of Wilkinson Sword. Maybe not the best advertisement for a company that’s just started making safety razors.

The next thought that strikes you about this book is just how much work has gone into it. This truly is a labour of love. Every razor is catalogued, explained and displayed. There is interesting information on how the company developed. There are insights into its changing business, product and advertising strategies. But, here the razor is king.

This book really has to be the ‘must have’ for every shaving enthusiast. I have to admit not to be one of them yet I found the book fascinating. It’s written by one of the Wilkinson family so you really are getting the inside track. The glossy colour images are a wonder to behold – which leads to one last striking thought.

It’s a family thing. There seems to be as much obsession and attention to detail went into making the razors as has gone into writing this book.

Your book is like a gold mine for the collector of Wilkinson razor. I have some of these but all are in your book.
J-P B France

It looks interesting and will be good for dating my Wilkinson razors.

I have finished the book and I have learnt a lot already, it was so easy to read, and everything flowed through nicely, you should be very proud of yourself and I am sure it will become every Wilkinson collector’s bible.

I had not too much time read it, but what I could see was great !!!!. You have done a very great work. You have done a very great work, I think I can assess it a little. It is work for a detective sometimes. I LIKE YOUR BOOK VERY MUCH !!
M E Germany

GREAT GREAT!!, it must be a lot of research and work to do it, but I think you have made a WILKINSON “bible”. Every thing is in it and I have seen a lot I have never seen before, also great to see some of “my razors” in it.
Thanks, but minor money for a LOT of information, the more I read the more I know, GREAT job again!
J K Holland

Last Monday I have got your book from M E
Congratulation a great work.
It was a pleasure to read all the very interesting things about
Wilkinson. I'll often consult it like a dictionary. GREAT:
G J Germany

j'ai reçu le livre aujourd'hui , en le feuillettent j'ai découvert une mine d'informations , j'espère que j'aurai le plaisir de vous voir un de ces jours ,
Je vous remercie pour votre oeuvre
A bientôt
J-P E France

Well Done! I can't imagine how you started out with a few bits from your father and got to this book in two years. An incredible feat. I have been through the whole book last evening (my wife will attest to my complete encapsulation) and really enjoyed it. In terms of getting all those missing bits, I find it a bit difficult in the relative isolation where I live and increasingly harder to win crucial auctions and still look
forward to a reasonable retirement. But the occasional big one still lights the way. Your book helps enormously.
A A Canada

There is a lot to read in your books and they are great. Now I have again a "problem" that there are more Wilkinson razors to find than the one’s I have already in my collection. But that is the problem of every collector; you think I have them all, that there is a book that tells you keep on searching.
Many Thanks,
T D Holland

Monday, July 31, 2006


WILKINSON RAZORS: Safety & Straight 1855-2003 (On CD)
*Fully illustrated in colour and black and white with photographs of razors, razor sets, catalogues, advertisements and shaving paraphernalia! NOW ON CD with hosts of extras such as Patents, Advertisements, Old catalogues and Quick Reference Cards showing all the main types of Safety Razor.
Immediate Despatch!
PLUS BONUS CD of a large section of Wilkinson Razors from the never marketed 1958 TTO (below left) to the present day QUATTRO!

22.50 GBP postage free for BOTH CDs.

Wilkinson Sword and Razors

In the last 120 years, the battle to design the perfect razor has been fought worldwide by inventors and engineers who, working in Europe, the United States and Britain, applied for thousands of patents.

The development and design of safety and straight razors by Wilkinson Sword from their earliest foray into shaving products in the 1890's with their "Figaro" straight razor is followed here in detail.

From their first "Patent Safety Shaver" in 1903, the development of new models over the next hundred years is carefully described and illustrated showing Wilkinson Sword to be at the forefront of quality razor design, with innovative technology.