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Open razor
Date Made/Found: early 20th Century
Material and Medium: steel plastic
Dimensions: Overall: 10 x 253mm (3/8 x 9 15/16in.) closed Overall: 21 x 170mm (13/16 x 6 11/16in.) open
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 1971.938a
This razor was made by the Sheffield firm George Butler & Company Ltd in the early 20th century and was given the brand name ‘KEEN’. It was described by the press of the day as "distinctly special". The razor’s name was inspired by a quote from William Shakespeare’s play, ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’: “Keen as is the razor’s edge invisible”. The razor blade has this slogan etched on it (with ‘the’ changed to ‘this’) along with an image of Shakespeare’s head. Shakespeare was an important symbol of civilized Englishness at the time and would have been synonymous with quality. The best straight edge razors were hollow ground like this one. The grinding process gives the blade an almost triangular shaped section, as the cutting edge is very thin compared to the back of the blade and produces an incredibly sharp cutting edge.
Display Location: In Store
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