7 Day Ivory Razor Set by George Ibberson Sheffield

$648.75

If you have ever fancied owning ivory razors, tiem is running out, at least here in the UK where sale of ivory becomes illegal on June 6th 2022.

This seven day set of 5/8 full hollow razors is from the long standing and respected Sheffield maker George Ibberson & Co, though the razors were retailed by Harrod's in London.

Please read the full description before purchasing.

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If you have ever fancied owning ivory razors, time is running out, at least here in the UK where sale of ivory becomes illegal on June 6th 2022.

This seven day set of 5/8 full hollow razors is from the long standing and respected Sheffield maker George Ibberson & Co, though the razors were retailed by Harrod's in London.

The spine of each razor is marked with a day of the week, between a floral design. The tang of each is marked "George Ibberson & Co, Sheffield, Eng" though the bottom half of this marking is worn on some of the razors. The blades are all clearly marked "Harrod's Treble Extra Steel".

Saturday has cracks around the spacer pin on both sides and Sunday has a crack around the spacer pin on one side. Both blades are in excellent condition however, as are all the other razors. It is unusual to find a set where all the blades are in such good condition.

The box appears to be original. It is covered with leather and lined with velvet in the base and silk/satin in the lid. The leather hinge between base and lid is largely broken and really needs to go to a bookbinders for repair. The appearance of the box means it would benefit from some restoration.

This is clearly a high quality set which would have been sold to a gentleman of some standing. My estimate of age would put these at the very beginning of the 20th Century.

Ibberson was a long-established name in Sheffield cutlery.  In the records of the Company of Cutlers the first mention of an Ibberson was in 1666 (the year of the Great Fire of London), when William Ibberson, son of George, of Stannington, a turner, was apprenticed to George Marriott. George was granted his Freedom in 1673.  The family apparently became more prominent in 1759, when Joseph Ibberson, son of the founder, became Master Cutler; and in 1791 William, the son of Robert Ibberson, was granted the mark ‘717’.  In the late eighteenth century, John and George Ibberson made pen and pocket knives in the Gibraltar district, using a ‘K’ and diamond trade mark.

It was George Ibberson (c. 1835-1899), who established the family’s name.  He was a knife whetter, and had been apprenticed to Joseph Rodgers & Sons.  In 1871, George joined Albert Wilson, a razor hafter, to form Wilson & Ibberson in Exchange Gateway, Fargate.  They took over the business of a Charles Hall.  In 1874, George Ibberson organized his own enterprise at Central Works in West Street.  The Census in 1881 gives the first insight into the size of the company: it employed ten men, two females, and a boy.  Ibberson’s made table, pen and pocket knives, carvers, trade knives, and razors.  But it was particularly noted for its hand-forged pen, pocket, and sportsman’s knives made in pearl, tortoiseshell, and ivory.  They were stamped with Ibberson’s mark – a violin  – which was acquired in the 1880s from John C. Skinner. This mark, along with Ibberson’s other great trademark, Doublesharp ##, would go on to gain legendary status amongst knife enthusiasts the world over.

In the 1890s, the business was directed by Joseph William Ibberson (1865-1954), who had joined his father in 1883.  A silver mark was registered in 1900.  In 1911, George Ibberson & Co moved to Rockingham Street.

In the interwar years, the company was increasingly managed by William (‘Billy’) Gregory Ibberson (1902-1988), Joseph's son. The firm tried to introduce new products, such as the safety-razor.  Besides the Violin Works at 112-116 Rockingham Street, in 1932 Ibberson occupied part of Hutton’s Buildings, West Street, after acquiring Brooks, Haywood & Co Ltd (a safety razor blade maker, established in 1928 at Shiloh Works with £100 capital and a ‘ROBIN HOOD’ mark).  Besides the latter mark, Ibberson also used ‘TOM THUMB’ on safety razors.  Its other cutlery marks included ‘STRAD’; ‘DOUBLE SHARP’;  and ‘FIDDLEBRAND’.  By 1940, the venture into safety razors had been abandoned.

Billy Ibberson became a Master Cutler in 1954. Around this time the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited The Cutlers Hall in Sheffield and Billy gave them a pair of presentation Pocket Knives. As is customary, he received a penny from the Royal couple for each in return. Ibberson’s fortunes declined after the 1950s.  It was a limited company by the 1970s and in the 1980s was taken over by British Syphon Industries.  The mark was later bought by Egginton.  Although the firm epitomised the decline of the family-based cutlery industry, Ibberson had retained the traditional skills longer than most and had produced quality products for over 200 years.

Source: Goin's Encyclopedia of Cutlery Markings, www.hawleysheffieldknives.com, www.sheffieldcollectibleknives.com