It was recorded that shavers in England were first manufactured in Sheffield in the 1700s, but their popularity in England did not rise exceptionally until the peak of the Industrial Revolution (mid 1800s). At the time, shaver kits for men sparked a general encouragement for self- shaving, as opposed to visiting a barber for a regular shave. Self-shaving was considered convenient, more affordable, and quicker for the hard-working middle class British factories. Below is a breakdown of the components in a typical 1800s shaving kit:
1. The case - A container or box was designed to hold all necessary tools required for shaving, while still being compact enough to be portable. These cases were almost all rectangular (to fit all tools) and were made from light wood. Most boxes were quite thin, with dimension of around 8cm wide and 20 cm long. The box was usually about 5cm in height. Due to their size and expenditure, brushes were the hardest to place in this small box, and as a result, and alternative was to have bristles on the end of the brush.
2. The Cloth - A compact cloth was also embedded in the box, used to wipe excess shaving cream off at the end, and to open pores up before shaving.
3. The Mirror - A mirror was often fixated under the lid of the box so when flipped open, would be angled at the face. Kits that had a mirror were considered more portable, and may not have had as many tools as more home kits.
4. The Razor - Usually the standard grooming kit was equipped with a straight razor, but in the late 1800s they were overrun by the more preferred safety razor, popularised by companies such as Gillette.
5. The Ear Wax Remover - Yes that's right, a small bud like hard stick with a bit of a scoop on the end. This would serve as a tiny shovel that one could scoop out accumulate ear wax.
6. The Comb - a small comb was included to straighten the hairs of the moustache ir beard. Larger kits had one or two combs including one for head hair as well as the moustache.
7. The Nail File - OF course the grooming kit would not be complete without a small nail file. The more expensive and rare kits would have nail files with decorative handles and made of silver. The file section appears to last forever and in general did not need replacing of kept clean of nail shavings!
A number of popular figures who used shaving kits included Former Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court John Marshall, Napoleon, and George Washington.