Churchill's razor

Let's talk about single and double edged razors and the blades that they use.
bernards66
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Churchill's razor

Post by bernards66 »

Evening, Since several members have choosen Churchillian quotes and photos for their avatars, I thought some might be interested in this tidbit. Churchill's son, Randolph, described visiting his father in the first months of WWII. He entered as Churchill, wearing only a silk undershirt, was at his shaving mirror ( presumably in the bedroom, in the old 19th c. fashion ). They had a discussion of the war situation, while Winston shaved, finishing, he "....tossed his Valet razor in the basin...", and "...he had dried and sponged...". The Valet razor was a very fine English made auto-strop safety razor, along the lines of the more well known Rolls Razor. Apparently, Churchill used the old English barber's sponge technique for rinsing off his face afterwards. Many British barber's used sponges in this fashion, into the early part of the 20th c. There, your nightly bit of shaving trivia. Regards, Gordon
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Post by Gramps »

Thanks for that trivia Gordon.

You never cease to amaze me with what you know....

You've probably forgotten more than I'll have a chance to get to know.

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Post by reginald-van-gleason »

Awesome story, Gordon. I'm sure right after his shave he would settle into a romeo y julieta no. 2 and a good sized glass of armenian brandy...

RVG
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Pauldog
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I think the Valet started in the US

Post by Pauldog »

Valet was founded by Henry Gaisman in the US, not long after the start of Gillette. (Gillette's company was briefly named American Safety Razor Co. at first, but no relation to the current company with that name, which dates back to about the same era.) There was a huge patent fight with Gillette when Gillette came out with their new design in 1921 as the 1904 patents ran out. Gaisman had a valid patent on the blade that Gillette had switched to, and ended up selling Valet to Gillette for favorable terms, including him becoming head of Gillette.

Valet had manufacturing facilities in England, and I'm not sure if this was from the merger or if they had them earlier.

Gaisman is not very well known (especially compared to King Gillette), but he was an inventor of broader scope, with about 1000 patents in fields like apparel and automobiles.
Last edited by Pauldog on Tue Aug 16, 2005 11:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
bernards66
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Post by bernards66 »

Yes indeed, and there were other important safety razor innovators as well, both before and after King Gillette, the Kampfe bothers come to mind, especially, during the last two decades of the 19th c. The Valet razor that Churchill favored would have been made in England, probably in the late 1920s or the 1930s. For those who are interested, there are currently some fine photos posted by sellers. Just google 'valet razor'. BTW, Mussolini supposedly used a gold plated Gillette DE and changed the blade daily. Regarding Churchill and brandy, Hine was the thing, "real brandy", as he said. Brandy, champagne, and claret were some of the few non-English goods that Churchill favored, along with, of course, the Cuban cigars. Regards, Gordon
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Post by Bastida »

Hello Gordon, wasn't also the Creed Tabarome a favorite of Sir Winston? I recall having read somewhere that the Tabarome Cologne was originally created for him.

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Post by bernards66 »

Bastida, The Creed PR people, and/or fashion columnists have said a lot of things about Creed colognes that are...a......questionable. This is one of them. For one thing, it's impossible to get a straight answer on when the so-called 'Vintage Tabarome' was first offered. I've seen several different dates given ( obviously, it's the Vintage Tabarome we're talking about, as the other 'Taberome' is extremely recent ). While i suppose that it's possible, I think it highly unlikely. Sir Winston was the quintessential Edwardian upper class gent ( in terms of his personal tastes ), and he would no more wear French cologne then French shoes. He is known to have patronized Floris and Truefitt & Hill, as well as Penhaligons, the very St. James's firms that one would expect a man of his class and time to favor. I find the Creed story rather dubious, especially given some of the other misinformation that has been put out there from/or about them. Regards, Gordon
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Post by ARenaissanceMan »

Anyone have a pic of one of these Valet's?

As always, a great read. Thanks Gordon.
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Post by reginald-van-gleason »

I hear Tabarome was also Bogie's (that would be Humphrey Bogart) favorite scent -- could this also be considered merely heresay?

I also read that Eucris is supposed to be James Bond's cologne of choice -- although I haven't read enough of the Fleming novels to know.

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Post by Bastida »

Thank you for the clarification Gordon. It really surprised me when I read it for the same motives that you state in your post: Sir Winston requesting a French Perfumer for a cologne? C'mon!

Reginald, in the Carter & Bond website they say that Bond's cologne was Floris 89, but Gordon inspected every page of Ian Fleming's Opus and couldn't find any confirmation for it. Eucris is a more solid bet I believe.

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Post by Pauldog »

clarkkent333 wrote:Anyone have a pic of one of these Valet's?

http://www.creekstone.net/razors/morepics.htm
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Post by bernards66 »

Reginald, As Bastida said, I recently re-read all the original Ian Fleming Bond novels and short stories. No specific cologne is mentioned as Bond's personal choice, although Floris products, in general, are mentioned more then once. The only reference to Eucris is in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but in that work, the Eucris is provided by his future father-in-law ( along with a Kent brush and comb and Pears soap ), in the bathroom where Bond is sent to freshen up. It's unclear in the story, whether the Eucris is the cologne, or the hair dressing. Lentheric aftershave and Floris bath products are in the plush prison that Dr.No locks Bond in on the island off Jamaica. How's that for toiletries trivia? It wouldn't at all surprise me though, if Fleming himself did wear Floris No89 ( and/or Eucris ).
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Post by bernards66 »

Paul, Yes indeed, that Kriss Kross is a SERIOUS slant head, no? There are also some good pictures of period Valet's up for sale, if you google it. As I said, the Valets look to me to be quite like the Rolls Razor, which was also an English auto-strop number, and very highly regarded. Regards, Gordon
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Do SE Gem blades fit a Valet?

Post by lux »

Hello fellow wet shavers,

Do SE Gem blades and compatibles fit into a Valet Autostrop razor?

If not, where can one get good, sharp blades for a Valet?

Greetings,

lux
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Re: Churchill's razor

Post by kd7kip »

bernards66 wrote:Apparently, Churchill used the old English barber's sponge technique for rinsing off his face afterwards. Many British barber's used sponges in this fashion, into the early part of the 20th c.
What is the nature of this technique? Was it simply rinsing the face using a water saturated sea-sponge, or was there more to it? I am intrigued...

-Scott
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bernards66
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Post by bernards66 »

Scott, As far as I can make out, they used sponges in place of towels. They'd wet ones face, prior to lathering, with warm water in a sponge, and use one with cool water for removing any left over shave lather afterwards. This approach apparently goes back a couple of centuries, and I gather that some shops were still using it in the early 20th c. It seems to have been a uniquely British technique. I'm not certain, but I think that the steamer towel thing originated farther south, in Italy, most likely.
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Post by ichabod »

My father (born 1930, started shaving around 15 years old) was telling me recently that his first razor was a self stropper like this. The mime of the action he did was the first time I was able to relate the pictures to the actual use of the razor.
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Post by Bargepole »

bernards66 wrote:No specific cologne is mentioned as Bond's personal choice [ . . . ] The only reference to Eucris is in On Her Majesty's Secret Service [ . . . ]It's unclear in the story, whether the Eucris is the cologne, or the hair dressing..
Had to sign up just to settle this one... Trumper's Eucris was until quite recently (1990s?) only a hair dressing; smelt of violets and was referred to a couple of times in Evelyn Waugh as the characteristic smell of the English upper classes. The cologne is a new thing and bears no resemblance to the classic Eucris. (Actually the current Eucris hair dressing is a poor relation of the old one. They say the woman who knew the recipe died, but that sounds like bull. If you want to get the true smell of Eucris -- and, probably, of Bond and Winston -- add a dollop of Ajaccio Violets to the Eucris and shake it up.)
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Post by bernards66 »

Ah, finally, thank you. I've been quite certain for some time that the current Eucris cologne was a fairly recent concoction, but as to whether or not there had been a prior Eurcis cologne, I was uncertain. I knew that the hair tonic went way back. The original Royal Yacht cologne was another that was once described as, "..that all pervasive upper class ducal smell, Eton, Brigade Guards, et. al....".
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Post by brothers »

Bargepole wrote:
bernards66 wrote:No specific cologne is mentioned as Bond's personal choice [ . . . ] The only reference to Eucris is in On Her Majesty's Secret Service [ . . . ]It's unclear in the story, whether the Eucris is the cologne, or the hair dressing..
Had to sign up just to settle this one... Trumper's Eucris was until quite recently (1990s?) only a hair dressing; smelt of violets and was referred to a couple of times in Evelyn Waugh as the characteristic smell of the English upper classes. The cologne is a new thing and bears no resemblance to the classic Eucris. (Actually the current Eucris hair dressing is a poor relation of the old one. They say the woman who knew the recipe died, but that sounds like bull. If you want to get the true smell of Eucris -- and, probably, of Bond and Winston -- add a dollop of Ajaccio Violets to the Eucris and shake it up.)
Evidently Bargepole's first SMF post.
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