Beachville District Museum Collection
Photo credit: Sidney Hicks
Early grooming razors were basic shells or hefty, iron devices that resembled small hatchets. By the seventeenth century the straight razor, or cut-throat razor, was introduced. These razors consisted of blades usually made of sharpened silver steel that were protected by guards, or “scales.” The scales of straight razors were made of a variety of materials, including ivory, horn, wood, bone, shell or cellulite. Although they resemble a handle, most practiced shavers hold the blade just above the pivot pin, at a spot called the “tang”. The scales, then, are used to help balance the blade when shaving.