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!!!