This straight razor is in good condition. The steel has a patina and mild pitting commensurate with its age. The Sheffield steel has taken a keen shaving edge. As is often the case with these antique razors, there’s a slight warp in the scales. (See photo) With a tiny bit of side pressure on the spine while closing, the edge does come in contact with the horn. The original coffin box is included, and it’s also in good condition.
This is the most ambitious restoration project we’ve ever completed, with over 26 hours invested. (See last photo) The high iron content in Sheffield blade steel delivers what many consider to be the most comfortable straight razor shave, but it also makes them vulnerable to corrosion. This one needed a lot of love to bring it back to usable service, gently buffing out the scaly rust and black oxidation with Q-tips, while maintaining the patina of the century-old steel, the etchings and stamp on the tang. So why would we invest that much time, and charge so ridiculously little for this classic restored blade? Restoration on projects like this becomes more a labour of love than a profitable enterprise. William Greaves & Sons is considered by many straight razor enthusiasts to be the premier Sheffield straight razor brand, and this Greaves/Eyre razor certainly deserves to be in the hands of a gentleman who will cherish it and shave with it regularly.
Here’s what we discovered about this fine razor. The Greaves family built the Sheaf Works factory in 1823, a manufacturing facility for pen knives, kitchen knives, razors and tools. Prior to that, William Greaves had a small shop on Burgess Street, opened in 1775, and registered in 1787. The target market for Greaves products was the United States, and by 1849 William Greaves & Sons was listed in the ‘American Merchants’, with an office on Pearl Street, in Manhattan. William Greaves became the wealthiest manufacturer in Sheffield. He passed away in May of 1830, at age 78. The company passed to sons Richard and Edward. Richard Greaves passed away in April of 1835, and Edward in October of 1846. This ended the Greaves interest in the firm, but the company continued to flourish with John Bower Brown at the helm. They had earned an enviable reputation for crafting some of the finest Sheffield blades on the market. In 1850, John B. Brown retired and William Greaves & Sons was dissolved. The stock and machinery were auctioned and remaining partners went their separate ways. One of them was merchant partner Benjamin Eyre, who had become Greaves’ international brand ambassador, and the face of Wm. Greaves & Sons.
B.J. Eyre bought up the blade manufacturing division of Sheaf Works, and Thomas Turton & Sons acquired the tool and steel works, securing the Greaves & Sons trademark in the transaction. Committed to preserving the legacy and quality, ‘Greaves’ razor manufacturing continued on in 1852, after the dissolution of the former company and sales were completed, essentially as it had for decades before, with the same forge and tooling, and work force. According to the 1861 census, B.J. Eyre & Co. employed 108 blade smiths and steel workers. But unable to use the Greaves & Sons name, B.J. Eyre secured the rights to clearly state on his razors for a period of 5 years that he was was continuing in the Greaves blade-smithing tradition, with the words “Late W. Greaves & Sons”. Since this razor includes that claim on the tang, it would place the age of this razor somewhere between 1852 and 1857. B.J. Eyre razors delivered the same outstanding shaving edges of their Wm. Greaves predecessors, and were highly prized by barbers and straight razor shavers alike. Benjamin Eyre passed away at his residence in Collegiate Crescent on September 5, 1878, bringing the Greaves/Eyre razor legacy to a close.
All straight razors we sell are fully shave ready. This razor was given a JNat finish, on an Ozuku Mizu Asagi Lv 5++ stone (above 16,000 grit). JNats (Japanese natural stones) are known for the exceptionally comfortable shave they provide. It’s been fully stropped, sanitized with alcohol, coated with a thin film of Dovo paraffin oil, and is ready to shave as soon as you remove it from the package. Carefully wipe the oil from the blade with a tissue and it’s ready to use.
Note: This is a well used razor and is sold as is. There are scuffs and scratches, faint traces of dirt remaining between the scales, modest hone wear and a patina commensurate with a razor of this age. Any other shaving items in the photo are props and not included with your razor purchase.
Due to the risks associated with bloodborne pathogens, potential honing damage and scuffs and corrosion resulting from daily use, we cannot accept returns of used straight razors.