William Greaves & Sons

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William Greaves & Sons

Post by Old Folder » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:32 pm

William Greaves was in business in 1787, this was two years before America's first Presidential election, George Washington (1789-1797).
William Greaves Sheffield Knife Works continued for the duration of 12 more U.S. Presidents:
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William H. Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore.

In 1816 his sons joined the firm and it became "William Greaves & Sons, Sheffield Works" and continued until 1850. After 34 years, the Greaves' partnership was dissolved and taken over by Benjamin James Eyre and Frederick Ward.

When the Napoleonic War ended in 1815 a boom period began as American industrialization began and American and Sheffield trade moved upward, Greaves made large fortunes in these trades. Greaves used the profits of the transatlantic business to build the Sheaf Works in 1823-1826. It was the first and largest centralized factory in Sheffield.

The below posted Razor was obviously made for export to America. The "Washington Razor" deeply engraved on the blade and the embossed picture of George Washington on the "Pasteboard Coffin Box" is a giveaway to its export destination. Very ingenious 200 year old sales advertising. It measures just over 10" open. Having the original box is especially important. In many cases, the razor boxes was discarded as soon as they got wet.

I obtained this Razor in May 1993 from a descendent of Timothy Bliss, a resident of Wheeling W. Va. He was one of the oldest residents of Wheeling. Mr. Bliss was a Veteran Mason, he was also the oldest Tyler in the country at that time and was the original owner of the posted razor. Close to 90 years old when he passed in 1902 (1812-1902)

Mr. Bliss's wife's name was Mrs. Hanna Custer Bliss. Mrs. Bliss's maiden name was Custer, and she was born on the banks of the Schuylkill River. She was a distant relative of the late Gen. George A Custer, and came of a branch of the Custis family, which gave to the world "Martha Washington". She married T. W. Bliss in Uniontown, Pa. June 28, 1836, the family moved to Moundsville in 1840 than to Wheeling, W. Va. in 1842. Mrs. Bliss passed in 1895 (1812-1895)
FYI On 01/06/1759 George Washington married widow: Martha Dandridge Custis.

The below World Historical events are only some of the World events that occurred between 1815 and 1850 during William Greaves & Sons production of cutlery and the era that the below Razor was made.
The American Civil War (1861-1865) had not commenced yet.

1815 Napoleon returns to France in February. He inspires men to reach again for glory, and his final military defeat comes June 18th at the Battle of Waterloo. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

1816 Because of the Tambora eruption, 1816 will be known with the year without a summer." Amid the gloom in Britain, Mary Shelley writes a scary story: "Frankenstein."

1821 Napoleon Bonaparte dies at the age of fifty-one under British authority on the island of St. Helena, the reported cause: stomach cancer. The English poet, John Keats, dies of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-six.

1821 A treaty is signed between the United States and the declining power of Spain. The US buys Florida for 5 million dollars, money the US government gives to US citizens with claims against Spain. Spain receives an established line separating the US from its territory in North America.

1824 Britain and the US negotiate a treaty establishing procedures for suppressing the slave trade, but the US Senate undercuts the treaty's powers and the British refuse to sign.

1824 In Britain, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is founded, the first animal protection organization in the world.

1829 Scotch tape is invented.

1829 Mexico abolishes slavery in its territories, hoping to discourage migration into Texas from the United States.

1830 President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act, which rips the Cherokee and other eastern tribes from their homes and banishes them to areas west of the Mississippi River.

1830 In England the lawn mower is invented.

1830 A Frenchman patents a sewing machine.

1831 Charles Darwin, 22, has completed his B.A. at Cambridge and sails as an unpaid naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle to South America, New Zealand and Australia.

1832 In Illinois, a state since 1818, the Fox Indians, led by Black Hawk, are defeated militarily. In his surrender speech Black Hawk acknowledges defeat. He says he has done nothing shameful.

1835 Britain and Spain renew agreement against the slave trade. British sea captains are authorized to arrest suspected Spanish slavers and bring them before mixed commissions established at Sierra Leone and Havana. Vessels carrying specified "equipment articles" (extra massager, lumber, foodstuffs) are declared prima-facie to be slavers.

1835 In the southern states of the United States, abolitionists are expelled and mailing anti-slavery literature is forbidden.

1835 Samuel Colt of Connecticut receives a patent for his revolver in Europe.

1836 Sam Colt receives a patent for his revolver in the United States.

1836 Pope Gregory XVI bans railways in his Papal States, calling them "ways of the devil."

1836 Anglo Texans are defeated at the Alamo. They declare Texas independent and go on to defeat Mexico's military forces.

1837 The United States officially recognizes Texas as independent. Mexico does not.

1838 Cherokee Indians are forced off their farms and out of the homes and sent on what will become known as the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma.

1838 In Britain this year, 58 children under the age of 13 have died in mining accidents, and 64 between the ages of13 and 18.

1839 The British fear Russian influence in Afghanistan and want "a trustworthy ally" there – on India's western frontier. There they have sent a force of 12,000 British and Indian troops, with elephants, 38,000 camels and a horde of followers, including families, prostitutes, and sellers of opium, rum and tobacco.

1839 The British have claimed lands in the valley of the Aroostook River, an area claimed by the state of Maine. A land agent arrives from the US to expel them. British lumberjacks seize him. Maine sends 10,000 troops to the area. A British militia in New Brunswick is called up. Neither side wants war and the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 is created, establishing a recognized border dividing the area between the US and Canada.

1839 US authorities take custody of a slave trading ship, the Amistad, a Cuban schooner. It has 53 Africans on board who had taken control and were trying to sail the ship back to Africa.

1839 Charles Goodyear invents vulcanization, for making rubber.

1840 The population of the United States has increased 36 percent in the last ten years – from 13 to almost 18 million Railway track has grown from 100 to 3,500 miles. The US now has 1,200 cotton factories, two-thirds of them in New England.

1841 The US Supreme Court decides that the Africans who had been aboard the ship Amistad are free to return to Africa, that they are not legally slaves.

1841 The President of the Republic of Texas sends an army into New Mexico, hoping to annex it and other territory, including California. A Mexican force drives the invaders back to Texas.

1841 Naval guns have been firing unexploding cannonballs. A time-delay mechanism invented by the French navy now allows exploding shells to be fired safely by high-powered, flat trajectory guns. The navies of Britain, the United States and Russia will have such guns before the decade ends.

1843 Britain and France announce their recognition of the Hawaii Islands as an independent state.

1843 England outlaws gibbeting – displaying bodies of the executed for the purpose of deterring crime – the last of this having occurred in 1832.

1843 In the United States, Charles Thurber advances an effort that began in the early 1700s in Britain. He invents a typewriter.

1844 In Australia, a "Protection of Children Act" allows Church missionaries to kidnap aboriginal children in order to "civilize" them – a policy that is to last to the 1960s. (aboriginal children Australia)

1845 The Congress of the United States approves the annexation of Texas. Mexico breaks relations with the United States. President Polk sends troops to Texas.

1846 In India the British are appearing weak after their Afghanistan debacle. A coalition of Sikhs attack the British. In three months of fighting the British forces prevail and the Sikhs sign a treaty obliging them to disband most of their military.

1846 The ruler of Tunisia, Ahmad Bey, promulgates a decree that abolishes slavery in his country. Black slaves had been tied to domestic work. No other part of the economy was tied to or dependent upon slavery.

1846 In Italy, Ascanio Soberero discovers how to make nitroglycerin.

1846 Cholesterol is discovered in blood. It will be more than a hundred years before it is a widespread concern.

1847 (Jan 10) Mexicans lose Los Angeles to the United States Marines. The war in California is essentially over.

1847 Members of the Donner Party are starving in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and they turn to cannibalism.

1847 (Jul 1) Britain's parliament passes the "Ten Hours Bill," which limits to sixty-three the hours of work per week for women and children.

1848 (Feb 2) The war between Mexico and the United States ends with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The United States wins recognition of its possession of Alto California, New Mexico and Texas to the Rio Grande. Mexico is given a guarantee of rights for the people who had been living in these areas and loyal to Mexico.

1848 Revolutionaries in Paris, upset by elections that did not go in their favor, stage another uprising, and they are crushed. The middle class in Germany joins the aristocracy against disorder, and revolution there is crushed. The political left in Vienna has alienated the liberal center and reaction there replaces revolution. Austria crushes Czech and Italian nationalism. With help from Russia, Austria crushes Hungarian resistance to its rule.

1848 A gold rush begins in Central California.

1848 At a women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, a call is made for equal treatment of women and men under the law and voting rights for women.

1848 In the Hawaiian Islands until now land has not been privately owned. This changes with the great Mahele (land division). Ownership of land in the Hawaiian Islands is individualized, seen by Hawaii's leaders as advantageous for Hawaiians as well as enabling foreigners to buy land.

1848 An ancient human-like skull is discovered in a quarry on the island of Gibraltar that in eight years will be identified as Neanderthal.

1849 In New York, Walter Hunt invents the safety pin. Poor sanitation in New York City creates a cholera epidemic, killing 5,000 people, most of them poor and Irish. Some believe the epidemic is God's punishment.

1850 A Chinese Christian in China sees himself as the son of God ordered to save the world. He has started a movement for sharing wealth, land distribution and the Ten Commandments. He favors chastity and an end to foot-binding for women and opposes opium smoking. He creates what is to be known as the Taiping Rebellion. It sweeps across central-eastern China, intending to drive away "Manchu demons" and rival faiths.

1850 In the United States, Congress passes another Fugitive Slave Act, which mandates government support for the capture of escaped slaves. Protests occur in the northern states. Eleven years later: April 12, 1861 the American Civil War began.
I have made this post longer than usual, only because I lack the time to make it short. :shock:
It's always important to know what you don't know.

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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by kennedy knives » Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:03 pm

Wow I enjoyed ever bit of it great info ::tu::

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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by btrwtr » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:22 pm

Good informative post and awesome razor!
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.


Please visit My AAPK store https://www.allaboutpocketknives.com/catalog/btrwtr

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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by Owd Wullie » Mon Oct 29, 2018 11:47 pm

Outstanding blade and great story. I do believe your razor to be "new in box." doesn't appear to have ever been on a hone since it left the factory.

I have a couple of Greaves' razors that I shave with. They are great shavers.
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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by BWT » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:28 am

Thanks Dan, I enjoyed reading that!!!

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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by Old Folder » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:18 am

BWT wrote:Thanks Dan, I enjoyed reading that!!!
btrwtr wrote:Good informative post and awesome razor!
kennedy knives wrote:Wow I enjoyed ever bit of it great info ::tu::
Thanks guys. ::nod::
Owd Wullie wrote:Outstanding blade and great story. I do believe your razor to be "new in box." doesn't appear to have ever been on a hone since it left the factory.

I have a couple of Greaves' razors that I shave with. They are great shavers.
I agree "Owd Wullie" I see no marks on the blade.
It's always important to know what you don't know.

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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by raincrowe » Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:11 pm

Thanks for history and information about the company I have an nice old meat cleaver made by that company!!

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Re: William Greaves & Sons

Post by Colonel26 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:20 pm

Wonderful history, and an outstanding razor!!!! Wow!
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