A J. Barlow and Sons and a family mystery!

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A J. Barlow and Sons and a family mystery!

Postby zoogirl » Fri Aug 31, 2018 6:27 am


This is one of the oldest items I own, and I've known it all my life. I just have no idea where it came from. Anyone up for a little mystery?

The razor is a J Barlow and Son Silvered Steel. I think the handle is horn. When I finally got around to looking it up, about a year ago, I was delighted to find that it dated from the 1820's to no later than 1856. After I finished yelling "Woohoo!, I said to myself, "wait, WHAT?!.

Here's the deal. This razor lived in my dads toolchest, actually an old dresser, for as long as I remember. He used it as an occasional paint scraper. I always wanted to get my hands on it and after my parents were gone, it was one of the things I grabbed before the house was sold. We had that house a long time. My mom moved in as a thirteen year old in '44 and my dad was actually a boarder when they got married in '58. He was much older, being born in 1913. So, at the time of his birth, the razor was already over fifty years old. Now the first thought would be that it belonged to his dad, or possibly grandfather. Well, that's kind of doubtful and here's a history lesson for you to explain why.

In the 1800's, through to the 1900's Canada took in what were called "Home Children". Sometimes they were orphans, sometimes they were just poor. They were shipped over from England by the thousands and most of them ended up as farm labour or house workers. They really were children. When my grandfather arrived in 1894, he was ten years old. I'm going to assume he wasn't shaving yet! At that point, the razor would have been at least 38 years old. Nope, not his either.

Grampa wasn't actually an orphan. Records show that he acquired a stepmother about six months before he sailed. Hmmm...

Anyway, I kind of wonder if his dad might have passed the razor on to him when he left England, perhaps as protection. I guess I'll never know for sure. Most of my cousins are much older and long out of touch. The one I talk to knows nothing about it. Dad wasn't the type to be buying antiques and it would have been over a hundred years old by the time I came along. It must have been just an old razor, a tool, to him. That's why I think he probably always had it around. The house was full of old stuff still in daily use.

It's a very cool old razor at any rate and in amazingly good shape for being tossed in a drawer full of rusty tools for who knows how long.

I just wanted to show it off and maybe prompt a little speculation on the stories behind some of your own items. These were the most basic of possessions for a man, but how many of them have survived and are now someone's treasures?!

Anybody got a story to go with your razors?
I’m too young to be this old!
“Hey Ann, gotchyer knife?!”

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Re: A J. Barlow and Sons and a family mystery!

Postby btrwtr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:20 pm

Great old razor with a very good story. Early and desirable name as well.

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Re: A J. Barlow and Sons and a family mystery!

Postby Quick Steel » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:15 pm

Welcome aboard zoogirl and thank you for sharing that history. Very interesting. ::handshake::
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