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Thread: A Small Selection of Celluloid Handles with Notes on Designers, Manufacturers, Dates

  1. #1
    Senior Member Hanlon's Avatar
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    Default A Small Selection of Celluloid Handles with Notes on Designers, Manufacturers, Dates

    I was poking around a bit on Google patents and found some interesting stuff regarding a small selection of celluloid handle patterns that you see with some frequency. I'll arrange them below by date of their creation.

    But before I get into nitty-gritty of this post, here's what strikes me as the biggest reveal of these design patents: If you've ever wondered who made all those celluloid handles and then sold them to razor makers, here we find two firms operating in the U.S. One is the Celluloid Company (based out of New Jersey) and the other is Wiebusch & Hilger, Limited (based out of New York). I'm sure there were many more companies that made razor handles, but they haven't popped up yet in my searches.

    1) Design patented in 1891

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    The man who designed this handle was Marshall C. Lefferts of the Celluloid Company in Jersey. Lefferts seems to have been a major figure in celluloid razor handle design. He owns 4 of the 6 patents in this list. You can read the full patent here.


    2) Patented in 1892

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    Everyone on this forum should be well familiar with the man who holds the patent on this design. It's none other than Joseph R. Torrey of the Torrey razor company. You can read the full patent here.


    3) Patented in 1895

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    This handle design was patented by one Charles H. Thurber of Wiebusch & Hilger, Limited in New York. You can read the full patent here.



    4) 1897

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    Another Marshall C. Lefferts design. Read the full patent here.


    5) And finally, 2 more of Lefferts' handle patterns, both patented in 1899.

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    Full patent here.

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    Full patent here.


    And, as a bonus, here's one last celluloid-handle-related patent: You know the standard end cap design on celluloid handles? It was patented in 1892 by Frederick A. Clauberg (who, like Torrey, was a razor maker by trade).

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    In the patent, Clauberg states, “The object of my invention is to so reinforce the ordinary light-weight razor-handle... and secure the strength necessary to minimize liability of breakage.” He envisioned his end caps being used on handles of “bone, horn, ivory, celluloid, gutta-percha, and like brittle and frangible substances,” though as far as I know, this end cap design was used exclusively on celluloid and other plastics. (And of course, here's the full patent).
    Last edited by Hanlon; 04-03-2017 at 03:05 AM. Reason: to fix an ellipses

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    Senior Member BeJay's Avatar
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    Great info here. Thanks for sharing. I just pinned a blade into some scales with the wreath(#5) pattern today.
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    B.J.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth Geezer's Avatar
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    Thank you! Good info is usually made from a love of subject and hard work! Again, thank you.
    ~Richard
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    Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
    - Oscar Wilde

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    Senior Member Hanlon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeJay View Post
    Great info here. Thanks for sharing. I just pinned a blade into some scales with the wreath(#5) pattern today.
    I've always liked that one. It's elegant and fancy without being too baroque.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer View Post
    Thank you! Good info is usually made from a love of subject and hard work! Again, thank you.
    ~Richard
    Just happy to add something worthwhile to the community. Plus it's nice to shed a bit of light on the unsung craftsmen like Lefferts who brought our vintage razors to life.

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    Historically Inquisitive Martin103's Avatar
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    Robert Doyle wrote an entire book about the subject, Celluloid Handle Guide for Straight Razor Collectors: Reflecting on Fifty Years of Handle Designs (1870-1920)

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    Excellent post, thanks for sharing.
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    Senior Member Hanlon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin103 View Post
    Robert Doyle wrote an entire book about the subject, Celluloid Handle Guide for Straight Razor Collectors: Reflecting on Fifty Years of Handle Designs (1870-1920)
    It's a great resource on celluloid handle designs, very comprehensive and well photographed. Even though I phased out of buying celluloid handled razors a while back, I picked up a copy out of pure curiosity. He's got some really good notes in there on the scarcity of individual patterns. Understandably (though it's one of the more interesting aspects of handles to me) Doyle doesn't tackle the issue of dating the various designs.
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