Pairs and sets

Pairs and sets of razors have a special feeling to them, that they have managed to stay together for sometimes hundreds of years.

Heiffor, John. 7-day detachable set. Ivory. Sheffield, c. 1820s.

Mappin & Webb, Queens Cutlery. Unusual wood-scaled pair in Morocco leather case. 222 Regent Street, London, 19th century.

Jonathan Mappin started the story in Sheffield making cutlery in the late 1700s; by the 19th  century, they had showrooms in London. The company is still around, in some form, today: link.

Picault.Ivory. Paris, mid-19th century.

Gustave François Picault was based out of an address on Rue Dauphin in Paris. This pair makes note of awards received at an exhibition in London. Among other things, he can be found in a patent for oyster knives:

Pickslay, Charles. Peruvian Steel. Ivory. Sheffield, mid-19th century.

Charles Pickslay at one point was working with Michael Faraday on making new alloys of steel, as James Stodart had. The firm started as Green & Pickslay, ironmongers as well as cutlers. They were famous for their ‘Peruvian Steel’. At one point as recorded in the 1828-9 Pigot directory, their showroom on High Street was grand:

More information can be found here: link

Rodgers, George. Horn. Sheffield, mid-19th century.

According to Tweedale’s Directory of Sheffield, George Rodgers of Norfolk Lane was a small operation employing under 10 workers.

Rodgers, Joseph & Sons.Ivory. Sheffield, mid-late 19th century.

Interestingly, the razors are unmarked; only the scissors bear the mark ‘J. Rodgers & Sons’. According to Tweedale, there was a dispute between Joseph Rodgers with Nowill over a stamping of ‘J. Rodgers & Sons’ with VR for some history with a John Rodgers. However, this set bears also the star and cross of the famous Joseph Rodgers & Sons, so I believe it is theirs.

Ryals, William. 7-day detachable set. Pique pin ivory. Sheffield, early 19th century.

William Ryals is listed in the 1822 History, Directory & Gazetteer of York as a razor maker at Furnival Street, later in the 1828 Sheffield Directory (John Blackwell) as a ‘Razor, pen, pocket, and table knife manufacturer’ at 14 Hereford-street.

Stodart, James. Tortoise. 401 Strand, London, c. 1800.

James Stodart is an interesting character, a London surgical instrument maker. He was tied into the history of the scientist Michael Faraday. The two worked on alloys of steel with new metals, producing some quantities. He died in 1823.

Wells, B.B. Tortoise. London, 19th century.

Benjamin Blake Wells operated out of 431 West Strand, London. He sold items from razors to corkscrews to dressing cases. Here is more information on him: link.

BB Wells ref 1

Zimmerman, Joseph. Ivory. Vienna, early-mid 19th century.

Joseph Zimmermann was a firm in early-19th century Vienna (Wien auf deutsch) that specialized in surgical instruments and other tools, at one point being awarded a prize for hart steel.

Zimmermann reference1


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