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Thread: "1604" Shakespeare-era straight razor

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    Default "1604" Shakespeare-era straight razor

    Came across this article from 2014, haven't noticed it mentioned here, though I might have missed it. Thought it was interesting. Despite the depictions of 'hatchet'-type 17th century razors, here's a very early 17th century razor which looks rather like much later 18th-century razors:

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    A cased razor; brown leather covered case with two compartments; steel razor with bone handle, two steel rivets hold handle together and form swivel point; scratched on handle the date '1604', the name 'Josh Cols' and the number '2' , c.1600s, 9.8 (case), 13 (handle), 12.4 (blade) x 1.8-3.5 (case), 1.7 (handle), 1.4-.08 (blade) cm, The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

    This particular razor is housed in the museum collection of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and dates to the early seventeenth century. The blade itself is made of steel and it has a bone handle with the date ‘1604’, the name ‘Josh Cols’ and the number ‘2’ scratched into it (although unfortunately these details are not visible in this photo!) It was apparently found between the joist and wall of a front bedroom in a property adjoining the old theatre in Stratford: could this have been a deliberate concealment along the lines of the shoes described in Peter Hewitt’s blog [here], and could this property have been the premises of a Stratford barber-surgeon? The fact that the razor has its own leather case and has been marked with what was presumably the owner’s name might suggest that it was the property of a professional, although it is possible that it could have been a gift for a man of means. But what about the number ‘2’ also scratched onto the handle? Could this be further proof of the razor’s having belonged to a barber-surgeon, who wished to identify that it was his second best out of a set?
    from (where there is a bit more discussion)
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