“Dip-at-toe” 18th century

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“Dip-at-toe” 18th century
(Updated, 2018, May, Okt, Dec,
2019, Feb)

First of all, a BIG thank you for the contributions of:
  • sharprazorpalace/SRP (in alphabetically order): ajkenne, altus, charlie48horlogerie, inoe,
    rideon66, ScienceGuy, sharptonn, ThaerisMari, Martin103, Neil Miller (RIP), Voidmonster, and many others …
  • Pascal MORIN (‘Lohar’)
  • Acier Fondu
  • monsieurvontiki.com
  • ilrasoio.com

In the article “Old Sheffield razors” written by “Henry T. Lummus”
(Henry Tilton Lummus (1876-1960), Associate Justice,
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court 1923-1955),
we can read this statement (p. 263):

Lummus 1a

As seen on these razors (Razors A (1775; 1770-1785) & B (1780; 1770-1795)):

(A. Date 1775. Maker, George Smith & Sons, Sheffield, 1770-1785. Trademark, cross and “Smith”
B. Date 1780. Maker, John Shepherd, Sheffield, 1770-1795. Trademark, crown and “Wolf”)

The “Revolutionary time” of which “Henry T. Lummus” refers to is the
“American Revolutionary Period” (1764-1789)

With this article, I’d like to gather razors with such a dip in the spine at the toe
(which I like to call a Dip-at-toe), thereby confirming or contradicting the statement
that razors which such a Dip-at-toe could be made around 1760 – 1790

Not every razor between 1760 – 1790 would necessarily
have a “dip-at-toe” IMHO, meaning, if a razor doesn’t have a  “dip-at-toe”,
it possibly still could be made around “1760 – 1790“!

To make things clear, a “Dip-at-toe” is:

The (more or less) hollowing at the very end of the blade,
at the toe/tip, and this at the spine (back of the blade),
not at the edge (and not at the spine near the tang)

Like this:

Dip-at-toe 1a

The following examples will show that a large amount of “Dip-at-toe”
razors can
indeed be placed between 1760-1790, though some razors with
a “Dip-at-toe” are
definitely older than 1750. At this moment, no razor is
found with a “Dip-at-toe”
that is younger than around 1790.

First of all, with many thanks to ‘Pascal MORIN’ (‘Lohar’), a description
of the “Dip-at-toe”, by ‘Jean Jacques Perret‘, author of the famous work
l’art du coutelier” 1771-’72“:

img109 kopie
2  img112

(*) The French have always made razors with a straight form, as represented
in Fig. ’11’, ’15’, ’16’. The English have always distinguished themselves by the
form/shape (“of their razors”). See Fig. ’30’: we see a hollow in ‘Q’, a bump/dent
in ‘X’, another hollow in ‘P’, all does neither good nor bad to the razor; and there
are many people of good taste to whom this form/shape does not please.
What is a defect for the French is that the heel of the English razor is too short;
necessarily the thumb must be pressed onto ‘T’: being directly on the cutting edge
at the risk of cutting the fingers; on the other hand the end of the heel ‘y’,
which they leave elongated, also wounds the fingers; nevertheless those who
prefer this form can easily be satisfied, all the more so since it consists only in
the manner of giving it this form/shape with the file.
  • So, ‘Perret’ describes the “Dip-and-toe”as a typical feature on 18th C. English razors
  • We see the shape of 18th C. French razors
  • “the end of the heel ‘y'” = the end of tang or the tail, which presently we call
    a “stubtail” (on 18th & early 19th C. razors); apparently the French seemed to
    think it wounded the fingers, which is maybe why early French razors were
    made without tail (“No tail”)

Interestingly these razors of William Fox,
made between 1740-1769 don’t have a “Dip-at-toe”:
Fox William razor 1a1 Fox William razor 1a2
Fox William razor 2a Fox William razor 2b
(Mr Morand – Livre “Le Rasoir Droit”)
While other razors, made by William Fox as well (1740-1769) do have such a “Dip-at-toe”:Fox William razor 3a1Fox William razor 3b
Coincidentally the razors without “Dip-at-toe” were found in France. Together with
the fact that the French (‘Jean Jacques Perret‘, “l’art du coutelier” 1771-’72“) at that time generally were not in favor for the “Dip-at-toe” shape, I wonder if William Fox (and maybe others) made razors without “Dip-at-toe”, specifically for the French market…

Examples of razors on alphabetical order:


Birks, Henry 

(Updated, 2018, Dec)
(= statement contradicted, razors with
a “Dip-at-toe” can be older then 1760)

“With many thanks to “Dr Joan Unwin, Archivist,
The Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire”

“Henry Birks, listed as a cutler, in 1720”Birks, Henry, listed as a cutler, in 1720 kopie(Birks (“Tobacco Pipe” mark)

Henry Birks could make razors, with this mark, between 1720-1752
In addition, the mark was only used by Henry Birks
(Birks (“Tobacco Pipe” mark)

A couple of razors, made by “Henry Birks, F1720”

Henry Birks razors 1aHenry Birks razors 1b

Henry Birks 2a1Henry Birks 2a2Henry Birks 2a3

(Private collection)DSCN1501 2.JPGDSCN1502DSCN1506
(“Birks” is very clearly visible, “Henry” is not clear though)

(Private collection)

Bramall, JohnStorrs (= statement confirmed)
(Bramall, Brammall, Bramhall)

Brammal John JOPPA 1aBrammal John JOPPA 1b(“Acier Fondu”)

Bramal Joppa 1a
(very slight “Dip-at-toe)

Brittain Wilkinson & Brownell (= statement confirmed)

(private collection)DSCN2599.JPGDSCN2622

Brittain Wilkinson & Brownell (FRANCE)
(“Acier Fondu”)

Brittain Wilkinson & Brownell, Sheffield (c1780-1840),
Sheffield, trademark ‘France’ (Goins’)

Due to its shape (no “shoulder”), this one is absolutely without a doubt
an 18th century razor, most possible around 1780-1790’s


Elliot, George (?) – IN LONDON
(not confirmed or contradicted)

(private collection)
Elliot George, IN LONDON 1aElliot George, IN LONDON 1b Elliot George, IN LONDON 1cElliot George, IN LONDON 1d

Elliot George, IN LONDON 2a1Elliot George, IN LONDON 2bElliot George, IN LONDON 2c(“Acier Fondu”)


Fox, John – *P (later a mark of Norris, Samuel)
(could be made before 1760 though!)

(private collection)Fox John 2aFox John 2b Fox John 2cFox John 2dFox John 2e
(private collection)Fox John? 1aFox John? 1c Fox John? 1b

Fox John 3aFox John 3b Fox John 3c

“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774
Fox & Norris, Westbar
“Bailey’s”, 1781
Fox and Norris, Westbar

“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Fox and Norris

Fox and Norris were: Fox, John (1714-1793, F1735 or 1737),
Samuel Norris (1745-1817, F1767), and maybe
1 or 2 Fox brothers (William/Stephen)

Samuel Norris inherited the *P mark of John Fox, after 1793.

The razors of John Fox are therefore between 1735/1737-1793,
IMHO made around 1750-1770.

The *P mark, when used by Samuel Norris, changed:
Fox John? 1b
The first is definitely younger then 1800, thus being a Samuel Norris razor.
The lines of the “P” is straighter then the old “P”.
I believe it is possible that the rounder “P” is from John Fox.

→ Also see “Norris, Samuel”



“Harwood – Warranted”
Harwood & Co Warranted 1a1(sharprazorpalace.com 1sharprazorpalace.com 2)
The Universal British Directory Vol. 4 (published between 1795-’98), lists Harwood & Co. Sheffield. Harwood is not listed in 1774 Sketchley’s, 1881 Bailey’s or 1787 Gales & Martin Directories.
This razor could therefore be made between 1787 & 1795-’98.
This just could fall in the time period of the “Dip-at-toe” (<1790).


Justice, Joseph

(Update 2018, May)

Justice Joseph 1b(sharprazorpalace.com/razor-clubs/Stub-tailed shavers)
(“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774, Justice Joseph, Churchlane)
Justice Joseph, Churchlane
(No mentioning in the “Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787,
neither in ‘Bailey’s Directory’, 1781)


 Leadbeater, John

Leadbeater John ITALY 1a
SRP, Razor clubs, “Dip-at-toe” Stubtails 18th century)

“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774
Leadbeater John, Copperstreet ITALY.jpg
“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Leadbeater John, Copper-Street ITALY.JPG

Lindley, John
‘Tobacco Pipe & …’

Lindley John 1a1
(SRP/That 1700’s Show)
Lindley John 1a2
or turned up side down:
Lindley John 1a3.jpg

“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Lindley John, Spring-Street.JPG
(Lindley John, Spring-street)

Linley/Lindley, William/(John) (or … ?)
(Not confirmed or contradicted)

Lindley? PIPE 1a
Lindley? PIPE 1b
(“Acier Fondu”)

Lindley? PIPE 3a1
Lindley? PIPE 3a2

(private collection)Lindley? PIPE 2dLindley? PIPE 2c Lindley? PIPE 2b

“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774Linley William, Samuel, John, Snighill
Sadly the direction is different…
We also know that the mark:

Johnson mark pipe-dart
belonged in 1698 to one “Bradshaw” …
NaamloosLinley-George Johnson-Lambert
A Thomas Linley sold the mark to George Johnson in 1842, passing it
on to his son who sold it to Lambert in 1887 (with a period that the
mark also belonged to George Wostenholm, 1865)

But to who belonged this trademark in the period between? …
SRP/”Dip-at-toe” stubtails 18th century


Norris, Samuel
‘ S:NORRIS ‘, later ‘ *P ‘

Norris Samuel 1aNorris Samuel 1b

“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774
Fox & Norris, Westbar
“Bailey’s”, 1781
Fox and Norris, Westbar

“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Fox and Norris

Samuel Norris (1745-1817, F1767), after 1793/1795 he used the mark *P,
therefore this razor is made between 1767-1793.

→ Also see “Fox, John”


Parker, Stephen
‘ *TURK ‘

(Update 2018, May)

Parker Stephen, Scotland 1a1(sharprazorpalace.com/razor-clubs/Stub-tailed shavers)
(“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774, Parker Stephen, Scotland(-street))
Parker, Stephen, Scotland
(No mentioning in the “Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787,
neither in ‘Bailey’s Directory’, 1781)

Pryor, Michael

Pryor Michael 1aPryor Michael 1b (Pryor Michael, Burgess-Street kopie PRYOR)Pryor Michael 2aPryor Michael 2b

The first razor, being an early razor from Pryor Michael

“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Pryor Michael, Burgess-Street


REVIL, George

Revil George 1a1Revil George 1b 2
Possibly this is an “earlier” razor, around 1790…
(no “Dip-at-toe”, younger tail (more round and shorter))

(Update ’18, Okt)



(Update 2019, Feb)

Thank you ScienceGuy! (“Acier Fondu”)Saunderson - SHIP 1a1Saunderson - SHIP 1a2Saunderson - SHIP 1a3Saunderson - SHIP 1adOn the scales, which aren’t the original ones, was written “1749”.
The pivot hole has been altered, also below the tang there are signs of
restoration & regrinding. The “Dip-at-toe” is original though! It is
confirmed through Joan Unwin at the Cutlers Company that the maker
is “William Saunderson”, his mark “☩SHIP” is registered in 1736, which
was passed through (presumably at his death or old age) to his son in
law “George Holdsworth” in 1760. This razor (see stamp on the spine) is
made by “William Saunderson”, no doubt between 1736-1760.

The hint “1749” on the scales pushes the date of production towards the 1740’s!

The style of “Dip-at-toe” with a more downwards angle is actually an
Ancient Dip-at-toe” (see further).

This razor would be a confirmation that the “Ancient Dip-at-toe
is more likely made before the 1760’s.

Comparing this razor with some other ones with a pronounced longer
tail (see further), and seeing this tail was broken and altered, it
probably had a longer tail in the beginning.


Shepherd John WOLF 2a
Shepherd John WOLF 2a1
(SRP/That 1700’s Show, rideon66)

Shepherd John WOLF 1a1Shepherd John WOLF 1a2Shepherd John WOLF 1a3Shepherd John WOLF 1a4
(SRP/That 1700’s Show, Mari)

The second razor has obviously been seriously reground, I wouldn’t be
surprised a piece of steel had been removed at the front as well

“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774
Sheppard John, Brown Cow, Redcroft
(Sheppard John, Brown Cow, Redcroft)
“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Shepherd John, Holles Croft.jpg
(Shepherd John, Holles Croft)

At the moment it is not clear if Shepherd John & Sheppard John
are one and the same person (most probably are)

SMITH, George
(could be made before 1760 though!)

(private collection)DSCN1487
DSCN1482.JPG(“GEO. SMITH MAKER” = “George Smith”)

ESCN0757 ESCN0763ESCN0761ESCN0769
(“GEO. SMITH MAKER” = “George Smith”)


From the article “Old Sheffield razors” (by “Henry T. Lummus”):Lummus 1b kopie
(A. Date 1775. Maker, George Smith & Sons, Sheffield, 1770-1785.
Trademark, cross and “Smith”)

These 3 razors have the same trademark:
(“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774)
1774b-razors kopie3
(“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787)
DSCN2629 kopie3

Thomas Smith, son of George Smith,
inherited the trademark of his father.
(Smith (“☩SMITH”))


  • the article “Old Sheffield razors”, states that “George Smith & sons
    operated between 1770 – 1785
  • there is written “GEO. SMITH MAKER”, and NOT “George Smith & sons
  • the given data in the article Smith (“+SMITH”),

we can deduce that the first 2 razors are made after 1734,
but BEFORE 1770, probably around 1750-1770

The third razor is from around 1775, which, together with the first 2 razors,
fit the timeframe of the statement!

A special “George SMITH”
Smith special 1fSmith special 1gSmith special 1eSmith special 1h
(SRP, Special razor 18th century George Smith)
The mark “SMITH” and the stamps on the spine” GEO. SMITH MAKER” makes clear
this is a “George SMITH”.  The “+” above “SMITH” is merely a hint. This razor is made
by George Smith (F1734, Master Cutler 1749, presumably died 1785), father of Thomas
Smith (F1763, who acquired the mark “+ SMITH” from his father (after his death) and
used it further along (Gales & Martin Directory Sheffield 1787,…)), it could very well
be made around 1760 – 1770. The special thing on this razor is the special shape!
Besides the “Dip-at-toe”, it has a distinct transition between edge and tang,
something that is thought to be done from the early 1800’s, not before 1770.
Also, the tang has a non-typical shape, it becomes very narrow towards the
beginning of the edge! The razor still has got its original scales and iron collars.

This razor is a re-grind, which explains the fading of the “Geo.” stamp on the spine,
and the fading of the “+” mark, maybe some metal was also removed of the spine

In that case, in the beginning, it would have been more like this:
Smith special 1b
Comparing with an original ground razor it can be seen that
there has been done some work on the tang (under & above):
Smith special 1c
Smith special 1d

I have seen this kind of re-grinds on different razors, all from the 18th century!

Another special “George SMITH” – “cross G·SMITH
I have seen this “extra G before SMITH” only once!

SMITH, Georgius

(Update 2018, May)

Smith Georgius 1b(sharprazorpalace.com/razor-clubs/Stub-tailed shavers)
(“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774, Smith Georgius, Scotland(‘-street’))
Smith Georgius, Scotland(No mentioning in the “Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787,
neither in ‘Bailey’s Directory’, 1781)


Warburton, William – “LISBON”
(Not confirmed or contradicted)

Warburton Thomas? (father?) LISBON 1a
Warburton very faintly etched Warburton Thomas? (father?) LISBON 1b (“Acier Fondu”)
The spine has a very faintly etched “Wm. Warburton’s German Steel

If this razor is from Sheffield, “Warburton William”
could very well be the father of “Warburton Thomas”, this razor
would then be made before 1774 since “Warburton William”
isn’t mentioned in the 1774 Sheffield directory

“Sketchley’s Sheffield Directory”, 1774
Warburton Thomas, Coalpitlane, + LISBON
“Gales & Martin Sheffield directory”, 1787
Warburton Thomas, Burgess-Street, + LISBON

(Update 2019, Feb)

Unknown maker

Tomahawk 3 1aTomahawk 3 1b
“Tomahawk 3” (“Acier Fondu”)

(“Acier Fondu”)

(“Acier Fondu”)

Elliot 1a.JPG
(“Acier Fondu”)


(private collection)?1a1?1a2 (“Dagger”)
?5a ?5b

?7a ?7a1

(private collection)?2a?2b?2c
As you can see, this “Dip-at-toe” is much more pronounced!

The tail is also longer!

Together with the more pronounced notch on top of the tang,
as seen on even older razors, I believe this razor is older then 1760
(maybe around 1700-1750)

?Ancient 2b1a?Ancient 2b2?Ancient 2b3a?Ancient 2b4
(“Acier Fondu”)

This should contradict the statement, but for now, because their appearance
is clearly different then the others, I regard these “Dip-at-toe” razors as
Ancient Dip-at-toe” razors, making a distinction between the
“Dip-at-toe” feature (1760-1790), and the older “Ancient Dip-at-toe” razors…

(Update 2019, Feb)

Saunderson - SHIP 1a1Saunderson - SHIP 1a2Saunderson - SHIP 1a3Saunderson - SHIP 1adThis “☩SHIP” razor, made by “William Saunderson” is made between 1736-1760,
most probably in the 1740’s (see “Saunderson William” in the article).
The “Dip-at-toe” is actually an “Ancient Dip-at-toe“.

The “Ancient Dip-at-toe” seem to have a more
downwards angle, as seen in next comparison:

Here are some other ancient ones:

?Ancient 3a1?Ancient 3a2?Ancient 3a3?Ancient 3b
(“Acier Fondu”)

The second razor most probably also is older than 1760 (1700-1750?).
Comparing this razor with the “William Saunderson”,
the latter most probably had a longer tail in the past!

The third razor seems to have a “normal” “Dip-at-toe“, but has a longer tail
which makes me think it is older then 1760… This razor, although without
knowing who made it, without knowing its age, and seeming to be older
then 1760, is a contradiction to the statement of “Henry T. Lummus”.

The first has the same kind of tang/tail as this razor:

(private collection)?Ancient 4a?Ancient 4g ?Ancient 4f?Ancient 4c?Ancient 4b?Ancient 4d
?Ancient 4e

Or these ones:
?Ancient 5a ?Ancient 5b?Ancient 6a ?Ancient 6b?Ancient 7a ?Ancient 7b?Ancient 8a ?Ancient 8b
(“Acier Fondu”)

These razors are much older then 1760
The 4 above could possibly be 1600s’ razors from the area of Germany (not sure)

Markings being present on the blade itself
seem to be a sign of very old age, like this one:?Arrow - star 1a?Arrow - star 1b or the 4 razors above, or:
?Ancient 3a1

In conclusion, the statement that razors which such a Dip-at-toe could be
made around 1760 – 1790 seems to be confirmed in a sense that they would be
indeed older then 1790, but contradicted in a sense that razors with such a
Dip-at-toecould still be older then 1760. A longer tail, and a different type of tang
could possible be a marker to predict if such a razor is older then 1760 or not…

Links and references:

sharprazorpalace.com/razor-clubs SRP, Razor clubs, “Dip-at-toe” Stubtails 18th century

ACIER FONDU A few centuries of Straight Razors, EARLY RAZORS “Acier Fondu”

This entry was posted in HISTORY & IDENTIFICATION. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to “Dip-at-toe” 18th century

  1. Hi, did you ever find out to whom the brand PIPE (turned on head) & STAR was granted…?
    I own one, made approx. 1840-60 but can’t find out more.
    Thanks & Regards Rainer


  2. Pingback: Fox & Norris, *P & more | Fikira

  3. Pingback: Smith (“☩ SMITH”) | Fikira

  4. MORIN Pascal says:

    Jean Jacques Perret, auteur du célèbre ouvrage ” l’art du coutelier” édité en 1772 fait mention de ce fameux ” dip a toe” ( accompagné d’une gravure explicative).Il dit simplement que ce ne sont que des ornements sans importance. Je peux vous communiquer une copie si vous le souhaitez. Cordialement, Pascal MORIN

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Birks | Fikira

  6. Pingback: Revil George | Fikira

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