This vintage John & William Ragg razor has a 6/8 carbon round point blade with a full hollow grind and a plain spine. The razor bears the words “John & Wm Ragg Sheffield England” on the reverse of the tang and “NAPOLEON” on the front. The tang has jimping to the upper and lower sides. It has white composite scales. I have have cleaned the razor up a bit. It isn’t perfect but it is in very good condition.
Ragg’s was among the first to start traditional razor making Richard Ragg, a distant relation of John and William Ragg established himself as a cutler in Ecclesfield in 1601.
In 1833, John & William Ragg was listed as a razor, scissors, and pen knife manufacturer in Johnson Street, Sheffield. In 1839, the firm began advertising its striking ‘NAPOLEON’ trade mark (showing Napoleon crossing the Alps painted by Jacques-Louis David). ‘PARAGON’ and ‘PLANTAGANET’ were other marks. While William oversaw the workshops, John was the travelling salesman selling razors to high class gentleman’s outfitters in London and Birmingham.
The business was passed on down through the family until in 1907 it relocated to Nursery Works, 95 Eldon Street and became limited company. In the 1920s, it produced safety razors under the trade name ‘ROTAX’, using its own machinery. Faster German machines were later installed, which were capable of producing about 15,000 blades a day. ‘PARAGON’ was also etched on safety razors. In addition, in 1933 Ragg Tuning Forks Ltd was established and Ragg’s began making blades for handicraft modelling.
In 1977 Ragg took over William Grant Ltd and having moved to new premises at Callywhite Lane, Dronfield ceased production of razors but continued to make professional knives, palette knives, and surgical scalpels as Granton Ragg Ltd. By 2011, it had been renamed Granton Medical Ltd, which reflected its focus on scalpels, sterilised packaging, and tuning forks for medical diagnosis). In 2012, Granton Medical sold Ragg Tuning Forks to Uniplex.
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