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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pins Are Important

Removing pins for the purpose of cleaning is absolutely forbidden in our shop, as the original pin cannot be re-installed. We, on rare occasion, replace broken scales with ones from the same era and style, but this is infrequent because we must wait, sometimes years, for a set of scales that match. We DO NOT manufacture new scales - ever.  In those cases, we retain as much of the original fastening hardware as possible, including washers and collars.  Some pin replacements are easy to detect.  You should look for:
  • Top and bottom pins that are made of different materials (most common are brass and nickel silver)
  • Pins using flat external washers
  • Pins that look different from one another, even if they are the same material (this is not a guarantee of a replaced pin, just suspicious)
It is here that I should mention something happened frequently in the life of an old razor.  Antique razors, particularly early ones, tended to be expensive (imagine spending several days wages on a razor today). So the owner did not simply throw them away if something happened to the scales or one of the pins.  It was common for a pin to be replaced, generally with a common nail, so that the razor could continue to be used.  I find this a fascinating practice and one could build an impressive collection of such period replacements.  When we encounter razors like this, we leave them with the improvised pin.
Why does it matter when the razor is removed from the scales?  The main reason is that you can no longer be sure that the razor was original to those scales.  The scales can be a vital clue to a razors age and identity.  Replacing scales with a model never used on that razor cheats history by creating a "fantasy" piece - not a genuine collectible.

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