I. & J. Barber ~ Sheffield ~ England 1820 - 1859+
1850's Abraham Lincoln era Straight Razor - This blade is 3" by 6/8" and is shave ready.
The metal is in very good shape with only minor flaws that can be seen in the photos provided.
The scales are in great shape. The blade moves smoothly and closes centred.
Grind: Half Hollow
Blade Width: 6/8"
Blade Length: 3"
"James Barber ERA Sheffield" on one side of the shank and nothing on the other side.
"Irish Elegance" on the blade.
This dutch point (round point) razor is proclaimed as a "safer" shape. Good for beginners as it reduces the chances of nicking yourself with the end.
I. & J. Barber ~ England 1820 - 1859+
This company was founded by Mr. Isaac Barber in the 1820s.
In 1845 Isaac & James Barber were documented as Knife & Razor makers. Isaac passed away in 1854 and James later died at the age of 40 in 1859. The trademark 'ERA' featured prominently over James Barbers name in the 1850s which dates this straight razor as a 1850's piece.
This straight razor may have been restored around WWI 1914-1918 to supply to troops, The "Irish Elegance" engraving may have been a customisation done at that point for a particular ranking officer or as tribute to the famous racehorse Horse of that name 1918-1919. Equally it could have simply been re-gifted at sometime to an Irish Gentleman.
The firm carried on under the ownership of Harriet Barber (widow of James Barber) until the 1870s, then under Mary Ann Barber until her death in 1897. Then yet another James Barber joined as senior partner. In the 1900s they had the Era Works in Sheffield but in 1928 the trademark was taken over by Joseph Elliot.
History of Sheffield.
The largest market for Sheffield cutlers in the early nineteenth century was America. In 1812 6,000 people out of the working population of 18,000 were making cutlery for the American market, and it was reported a third of all manufactured goods were for export to America.
After 1840 demand increased and Sheffield dominated the market in the US. It was not until the start of the American Civil War in 1861 and the raising of American trade tariffs that Sheffield’s export trade began to decrease. American cutlers fully embraced mechanisation and mass production, which allowed them to produce cheaper goods. Competition from European cutlery centres, such as Solingen in Germany, also affected Sheffield’s trade.