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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Blades, Combs, Laces: 1939

Blades, Combs, Laces: 1939

November 1939. "Street vendor's goods. Waco, Texas." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration.

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I'm a razor nerd also. Interesting picture.

John Ruskin

Was the John Ruskin box from razors, or cigars (it looks a bit like a cigar box), or from something else entirely? How odd to contemplate an America in which John Ruskin's name could be used to sell anything!

I imagine his name was associated with sophistication in an era before everything went lowbrow.

[Cigar box. - Dave]


Looks like he is selling a couple of Gem Razors. I can tell by zooming in a bit that the G-P Blades are single edge (for the Gem Razors he is selling) but he's also got several brands of double edge blades...the Fan blades, the Smith Blades...which would go in a Gillette Tech or Aristocrat (which he doesn't seem to stock in his little box). I'm a razor nerd...I wish I could run across some kid selling these on the street today. I'd buy him out.


PS- Those Gem razors are kind of hard to use these days. The blades you can get for them are not always the best quality. If you've ever seen Treet razor blades in the drugstore (you might have bought them to use as a scraper, or to put in a utility knife maybe or for a crafts project) that is what you can get today and that's about it. They tend to be a bit rough. Double edge blades are still easy to find though and high quality blades are relatively easy to source on the internet, allowing these great old razors to still perform today just like they did way back then. One of my favorite razors is a Gillette Tech from a little later than this (1940s) that shaves like a dream and looks brand new 60 years later. They don't make them like this anymore.

[Click below to enlarge. - Dave]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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