KEEP ON ROLLING

The Rolls Razor instruction sheet.

I stumbled across this antique Rolls Razor while visiting my folks a few weeks ago and thought I’d share some images of it. It’s an ingenious bit of product design that I’ve never really seen anything like before in the world of Men’s grooming. The gentleman using a Rolls Razor would have surely felt like 007 when he pulled this handy kit out of his wash bag (had the Razor not been discontinued in 1958, four years before Bond’s first big screen outing).

The Rolls Razor, packed up and ready to roll…

The razor comes in a decorated steel tin bearing the hallmark of the company – ‘The Whetter’ logo. On either end is a button to release a different lid. On the underside of each lid is a different type of sharpening tool – one side a thin honing stone, on the other a leather strop. Sessions on both were required to completely sharpen the blade.

The kit with the ‘S’ (soft) lid (leather strop) removed, leaving the ‘H’ (hard) lid (honing stone) on the base to sharpen against. The two part handle of the razor is cleverly tucked underneath the rim at either side of the sharpening handle.

The razor head inside is attached to a handle that rolls along two runners underneath the rim of the case. The handle is pushed back and forth along the strop or stone to sharpen. Once sharpened the head is removed and placed in to the clamp at the top of the razor handle and tightened into place by the lower half of the handle.

Pulling and pushing the razor along the honing stone.

The clamped razor head.

The razor (featuring a metal guard) was one of the first non-disposeable ‘safety’ razors to hit the market and was made from Sheffield steel.

The company sadly lost the battle for the market against the likes of Gillette, but had a good spell of popularity between the twenties and fifties before the company switched its interest to washing machines (?!). Interestingly, although the company had nothing to do with Rolls-Royce, the name ‘Rolls’ was chosen because of this link back to the luxurious car manufacturer. While a beautiful and interesting object I think I’m going to resist the urge to hack my face to pieces with it and stick to the modern day beard trimmer. If you have time, check out this video of the Razor in action (not least for the insanely sized rings on the dude presenting the piece – wow).

The entire kit contained with in the smart nickel plated case – note the ‘Best Sheffield Steel’ engraved on the steel. #Yorkshire!

‘The Whetter’ logo.

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