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Anyone else like really old brushes?

Discussion in 'Shaving Brushes' started by jar, Wednesday September 27, 2017.

  1. jar

    jar

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    About half of the brushes I own and use are over a half century old. Many belonged to my dad or grandfather and others are ones I bought long long ago. For all practical purposes US made shaving brushes as a main line product ceased before 1960. Many of the old US brush makers are still around today but none have made shaving brushes since about 1957; even the ones that still make brushes. Yet the brushes themselves are still fantastic as long as they have been taken care of. That shouldn't be a big surprise, my Kent hairbrush I bought in the 1960s is still in great shape today.

    So are there others out there who are using and cherishing shaving brushes from your side of the pond comparable to those I use from this side of the pond?

    Some of my half century or more old shaving brushes:
    [​IMG]
     
    captain_hx, JayGee, dowsing and 4 others like this.
  2. jar

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    The handles are nice, the knots are absolutely fantastic.
     
    Blademonkey likes this.
  3. I have an old Boots No 4 (I think) from between the mid 50's early 60's, which I occasionally still use. Lovely thing but a bit soft for face lathering.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. jar

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    Nice. Is Boots the same company that exists today (the Logo looks the same) and did they make the brushes or simply rebrand brushes?
     
    Wayne Pritchard likes this.
  5. Same Boots, I contacted them about the brush and the archivist was able to guestimate the date but she had very little other info. She reckoned it wasn't bakelite but had no info on who had actually made them.
     
    Blademonkey likes this.
  6. jar

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    Over here we see the same thing. One of the major drugstore chains, Rexall, bought and branded brushes but from several different suppliers and under several brand names; Rex and Stag and other names as well.
     
    Count of Undolpho likes this.
  7. It's not helped by how many brush makers were around at the time, unless you find a similar looking handle/brush with a manufacturers logo on it.
     
  8. Reevers

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    I feel very lucky to have this genuine horn handle Plisson with its original knot. It's my only older brush that I own, but it keeps pace with the new kids on the block.

    I've no idea of its date, so if anyone knows what period this faceted handle shape is from, please let me know.


    [​IMG]
     
    Gairdner and Wayne Pritchard like this.
  9. jar

    jar

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    True then on both sides of the pond and even to a certain extent today. I have TOBS brushes that look exactly like Vulfix brushes but also an Art of Shaving brush that doesn't quite match anything I've seen.

    [​IMG]
     
    Count of Undolpho likes this.
  10. Gairdner

    Gairdner

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    I'll be using my butterscotch Rooney keyhole tomorrow with its original 22mm best badger knot for the first time. Rather excited about it to be honest..:D

    As far as old brushes go, I must admit a strong preference for butterscotch Catalin handles. There's just something about that 'happy accident' of age related yellowing that does it for me. I have six now.
     
    Reevers likes this.
  11. jar

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    Fantastic. The brush on the far right of the bottom shelf may well be Catalin; it has the translucency and internal cracks often seen with Catalin. It's a US MadeRite #95 Pure Badger.

    [​IMG]
    Tomorrow I will use the Peerless Nylon that is third from the left on the bottom shelf. It's surprising but those half century old synthetic perform as well as my modern synthetic brushes.
     
  12. Gairdner

    Gairdner

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  13. jar

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    That looks a lot like the unknown brush from above.
     
  14. Gairdner

    Gairdner

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    It does somewhat. Perhaps Rooney made them for Boots back in the day. I test lathered the Rooney last night to give it a bit of a clean and the best badger is super soft - more like a top grade, modern silvertip. Will be using it shortly if I can get moving....
     
  15. jar

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    Had a shave before bed last night so used the Peerless nylon then instead of this morning.

    I have never yet come across any experienced badger brushes that were marketed as Silvertip or Two Band or Three Band or any boar brushes where they used similar marketing like "blondie". Generally what I have seen on US made brushes is either "imported badger" or "pure badger".

    But I have several experienced brushes that are indistinguishable from modern Silvertip or Manchurian or High Mountain. In the picture below three are modern Silvertips from Kent and Zenith and Thater and one is my over a half century old Peerless Pure Badger.

    [​IMG]
    The brush I used this morning is another example. It is a Simms made in Canada and again, simply marked as "Pure Badger" but in use it is almost exactly like my Kent and Thater Silvertips.

    Fourth from left on bottom shelf:
    [​IMG]
    Lots of people use and love razors made as far back as a century ago and quite honestly, many of them shave every bit as well as any razors being made today yet we forget that there were companies making fantastic shaving brushes at the same time.

    The folk on your side of the pond are fortunate though that some of those same companies are still around; makers like Simpson and Rooney and Thater and Plisson and Vulfix but in the US a decision was made that pretty much meant all the US companies simply stopped making brushes and sold off any remaining stock. At the beginning of the 1950s there were still fourteen companies making shaving brushes in the US but by the end of that decade there were none.
     
    Last edited: Sunday October 8, 2017
    Wayne Pritchard likes this.
  16. Gairdner

    Gairdner

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    Well I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your pictures, Jar. And using my vintage butterscotch Rooney earlier today was sublime. Marked as best badger but as soft as many a silvertip or super. Will be trying out a vintage butterscotch Culmak made for Addis and labelled as such for my next shave but that will be Tuesday. Be interesting to use a vintage Pure Bristle knot.
     
    Wayne Pritchard likes this.
  17. jar

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    Yesterday and today it has been two brothers with different mothers. Yesterday was a StrongSet wood handle boar while today was a Century pure badger. Both brands were made by the Leopold Ascher Company of New York, USA.

    The sixth and seventh brushes from left on bottom shelf:
    [​IMG]
     
    Wayne Pritchard likes this.
  18. Gairdner

    Gairdner

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    Very nice indeed, @jar . It's a great feeling to be giving these old timers a run out and find that they're just as good as and in some cases, better than their modern counterparts.

    Yesterday I used a butterscotch Culmak 44 labelled for Addis, who make or made lots of plastic utility goods like bins, utensils, etc. It's a pure bristle and worked very well indeed.

    [​IMG]
     
    Wayne Pritchard likes this.
  19. jar

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    Neat. At the time, pure bristle almost always meant boar. I've found that some old boar brushes are still in great shape even a half century or more after they were made. Tomorrow will start the last seven on the bottom shelf with a Rubberset 400 boar bristle brush.
     
    Gairdner and Wayne Pritchard like this.

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