J.R. Torrey 900 Razor

Use a straight. You know it makes sense.
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Bill_K
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:40 pm
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

J.R. Torrey 900 Razor

Post by Bill_K » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:52 am

Last weekend my lovely bride dragged me into in a candy-and-antique store in rural Alberta and a J.R. Torrey 900 straight razor caught my eye. It seemed to be in decent shape and the price was fair ($46CDN / $34USD) so naturally I bought it.
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The hinge pin was loose – easy to fix – and the steel needed a little buffing to get rid of some rust. I think I’ll just leave the residual staining alone lest I ruin the razor with an overly-ambitious and clumsy cleaning. I had trouble removing the rust on the pins, so rather than risk damaging the scales I dabbed on some dark green automotive touch-up paint and called it done.

I’ve been doing some research and I found this little nugget on the Sharp Razor Palace forum:

In 1880, a Sheffield immigrant named Joseph Turner joined J. R. Torrey, and they started making their own razors […]
The earliest marking for the Torrey razors is three straight lines on the shank that read "THE TORREY RAZOR CO. / WORCESTER, MASS / USA". The article notes an 1895 Torrey catalog in which the "usual" Torrey marking appears, which it describes as "THE J.R. TORREY CO." in an arc over a "U.S." and an arrow trademark with "WORCESTER, MASS" under the trademark.
[1]

Since my razor has three straight lines of text – i.e. not in an arc – I’m inclined to believe that my razor was manufactured sometime between 1880 and 1894.

Further down the thread from the above post, user sheajohnw writes:

Torrey was a pioneer aviator and industrialist. The success and later complete failure of his strop and razor business is a classic business school riches to rags case study. Torrey refused to adapt to changing market conditions believing that since straight razors are the best shaving instruments, the public must eventually come to its senses and return to straight razor shaving. His company and descendants eventually became penniless by the 1960s.

At any rate, now that the Torrey is presentable I can take it to my favourite local shaving store to have it professionally honed. I’ll let you know how it shaves once I get it back; the reviews that I have read are all very positive.

[1] https://sharprazorpalace.com/razors/798 ... razor.html (posted on 02-02-2012 by user IgorR)
Bill

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