Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 30
Like Tree52Likes

Thread: The Packwood mystery

  1. #1
    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    9,456
    Thanked: 2672

    Default The Packwood mystery

    Gentlemen,
    I have been on a mission to find some historical background on the Packwood straight razor. This is a mysterious razor about which hardly anything is known. From what I understand, it is a superb shaver. Could the razor have been produced by George Packwood, who manufactured razor strops, among other things, in the 18th century? According to an old post from our esteemed historian Manah, from what I recall of it, Packwood did not produce any razors; rather, Packwood is just a brand name from the period. Perhaps the razor was produced for Packwood by another manufacturer. There is nothing unusual about that practice. It is done to this day Dovo produces razors under a number of brands. This possibly sheds some light on the the mystery of Packwood razors, but also deepens it.
    Can you shed light on the Packwood mystery, gentlemen? Thanks.

  2. #2
    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    29,161
    Thanked: 4728
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Why, it's a funny thing you happened to ask about this Obie cause maybe a year or so ago when all those Govt Men were around these parts I remember seeing this fella with an English accent looking at DE razors in the drug store and I asked him about these very razors and he told me it was some big secret. Apparently this hush, hush Govt facility in England developed the razor to be used by their field operatives. it was made to be outfitted with all manner of contraptions but something terrible happened there and the few razors that got out were quickly grabbed by those who got them and over the years their fame spread far and wide.

    So he told me that...oh,..... wait a minute that was Torchwood.

    Well maybe their related eh?
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

  3. #3
    Senior Member blabbermouth
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Essex, UK
    Posts
    3,816
    Thanked: 3153

    Default

    Obie - it is not a mystery! The gentleman in question is indeed George Packwood, and he was acknowledged as a razor strop (or 'strap') maker, and maker of the conditioning paste that was sold along with the razor strop. Advertising for the strops and paste began to hit their height in the mid 1790s, before spreading overseas to another individual of Packwood's own cut - the self-styled Barber Emperor Mr John Richard Desborus Huggins. Both were given over to what was then called 'puffing' - an overblown, semi-romantic, semi-serious advertising of their own products. It might be thought to the modern mind that these were attempts to mislead the public, but in reality it was to entertain, educate, mystify and delight them - as well as making a lot of money for Mr Packwood and Mr Huggins!

    Huggins - who also rather elegantly called himself The First Knight of the Comb, was situated at 92 Broadway, New York. He heavily eulogized Mr Packwood's products, puffing them for all he was worth. Back in London - from No 16 Gracechurch Street to be exact (a warehouse cum manufactory cum shop cum house) Packwood did the same. He even retained a pet poet to put his thoughts - and advertisements - down in rhyme. For instance, the paste - a fine abrasive - that Packwood sold was formed into small pellets ('eggs') and sold in small circular tins ('nests'). From this he wrote 'Packwood's Whim. the Goldfinch's Nest; Or, the Way to Get Money and Be Happy. Giving a General Account of His Diverting Advertisements'. The goldfinches nest was, of course, the small tin of sharpening paste that gained him money, success and repute, to which he added by writing about it. The first edition was in 1796, the second in 1807. A search through land registry records shows George Packwood continuously at 16 Gracechurch Street up and until the year 1810, when presumably he died.

    Packwoods Whim was sold by the author in Gracechurch Street, by Mr Raeburn at North Bridge Edinburgh, by Mr Simmons in Capel Street Dublin. Other bookstalls and traders carried it. It must have made quite a mark.

    Sometimes he did stoop to leading people on - he told a credulous public that some copies of his books containd 'An Half Crown' in the centre (a not inconsiderable amount of money then) - and indeed, some of them did. The Half Crown in question though was a small anecdote titled The Half Crown, not a sum of money.

    Packwood stocked razors as well as razor strops at his 'manufactory' in Gracechurch Street. Indeed, he was invited to bring along a selection of razors and strops to a prestigious gathering in London, but on being informed by an underling that his character was supposed 'not to be of the best' he turned round and went home again, then sued. His razors seem to have been made by several leading Sheffield makers, stamped-up for him as was the custom, and not made by himself. Some are marked 'silver steel' and if they really were, they must have come along in the decade after his demise (Faraday/Stodart research dates to 1818/19 and makers were not sought until after that date), so one presumes the firm was still in operation.

    That Packwood is the subject of several books and his works are still on sale and in other collections proves him to be a rare man of high business acumen - a genius in the art of advertising.

    Regards,
    Neil
    Last edited by Neil Miller; 03-20-2013 at 01:16 AM.

  4. The Following 11 Users Say Thank You to Neil Miller For This Useful Post:

    BobH (03-20-2013), chay2K (03-20-2013), Disburden (06-14-2016), engine46 (09-07-2016), karlej (08-03-2015), MisterClean (06-22-2017), Obie (03-20-2013), onimaru55 (03-20-2013), sharptonn (03-20-2013), Sunbird (03-21-2013), Wullie (03-20-2013)

  5. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimmyHAD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    32,564
    Thanked: 11031

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Miller View Post
    he told a credulous public that some copies of his books containd 'An Half Crown' in the centre (a not inconsiderable amount of money then) - and indeed, some of them did. The Half Crown in question though was a small anecdote titled The Half Crown, not a sum of money.
    ........... ...... love it !!!

  6. #5
    Greaves is my friend !!! gooser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    N.East OH
    Posts
    2,297
    Thanked: 306

    Default

    i dont know but if i didnt just buy a coticule i would of kept bidding on the one that sold on the bay today ...lol

  7. #6
    Senior Member Johnus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,979
    Thanked: 196

    Default

    ...And yes Virginia, there is a Packwood!
    (:-).

  8. #7
    The Assyrian Obie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Milwaukee, WI
    Posts
    9,456
    Thanked: 2672

    Default

    Neil, my friend, thank you for the detailed information on Mr. George Packwood. You're pro, as always, and a learned historian. You have clarified quite a bit about Mr. George Packwood's life and the Packwood razor.
    Stay well.

  9. #8
    Captain ARAD. Voidmonster's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Pacifica, CA
    Posts
    2,365
    Thanked: 2040

    Default

    His company was definitely active into at least the early 1830's, as this razor attests:



    I'd really like to get my hands on copies of both Packwood's and Huggins' books. At this point, I've done enough reading from the era to find them both very funny.

    And here's an American ad for Packwood razors dating to 1836:



    And finally, one of Huggins' ads:

    Name:  Huggins-01.jpg
Views: 981
Size:  35.8 KB

    He regularly told short, linked stories in installments across the weeks.
    -Zak Jarvis. Writer. Artist. Bon vivant.

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Voidmonster For This Useful Post:

    Obie (03-20-2013)

  11. #9
    The First Cut is the Deepest! Magpie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Upper Middle Slobovia NY
    Posts
    2,616
    Thanked: 455

    Default

    I dont know where it got to, but there is a very long thread on here someplace with much Paky info I think these threads should be tied together if there is a way to do that.
    Sharptonn and Martin are all over this stuff!
    sharptonn and gooser like this.

  12. #10
    Historically Inquisitive Martin103's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    5,732
    Thanked: 4210
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Magpie View Post
    I dont know where it got to, but there is a very long thread on here someplace with much Paky info I think these threads should be tied together if there is a way to do that.
    Sharptonn and Martin are all over this stuff!
    Yes i remember that thread: http://straightrazorpalace.com/show-...wood-stub.html
    Name:  packwood strop 2013.jpg
Views: 1099
Size:  46.5 KB
    Last edited by Martin103; 03-20-2013 at 12:06 PM.
    sharptonn and gooser like this.

  13. The Following User Says Thank You to Martin103 For This Useful Post:

    Obie (03-20-2013)

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •