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Barber's tool ???

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    Posted 6 months ago

    (297 items)

    Here's a tool that I picked up at an antique extravaganza today. The seller insisted that it was a Barber's tool to hang on the barber chair and it held the razor strops. I somewhat have my doubts though. It could be, but I hope that someone can agree with certainty that it is truly a barber's tool or, if not, maybe someone can tell me it's actual use.
    Description as follows: I believe it to be steel, under the plating, because it shows a little rust coming thru...... It's about 9" tall and 5" wide. It's nickel plates...... The hooked parts at the bottom are pinned so they swivel sideways
    as shown in the photos, the front has the three words cast in place - strength - vigor - power.
    The rear has three words cast in place - health - vim - pep.
    Unless I hear differently, I guess it is a barber's strop holder as the seller insisted.
    Any input is appreciated.

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    1. dav2no1 dav2no1, 6 months ago
      I don't know..the strop I have is 24" long, I'm sure they made different sizes, mine has its own hanger clip attached.

      Your piece is double sided, so doesn't seem practical to hang on a chair? And the words seems odd for a barber shop?

      Now I want to know what it is
    2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 months ago
      Looks Masonic.
    3. keramikos, 6 months ago
      hotairfan, Very cool. :-)

      Somebody else had one, didn't know what it was, brought it to an antique forum for help, and somebody started examining that emblem in the middle:


      I see one more letter that Michael missed. In the center is a small "o". Since it's inside the "C" I assume it stands for "Co.", or Company. There are numerous AHDCo. online, but nothing comes up with the motto.

      Since the highest letter is A, then 2nd highest is H, then D, with C being the shortest, I suggested AHD Co. but it could be something else.

      Permalink Reply by Michael on March 7, 2018 at 9:12pm

      Good possibility Tom, I had kind of dismissed the small centre oval, assuming it to be a decorative element giving the overall C look like an eye, I never thought of it being Co, for company. I like that possibility.

    4. keramikos, 6 months ago
      Here's another that the purveyor speculated might have been some kind of exercise equipment (which would make sense in terms of that "STRENGTH VIGOR POWER HEALTH VIM PEP" lingo embossed on it):

      It's possible that the loop on the top could be fastened to something stationary, and the hooks on the bottom could hold springs to pull for exercise, not exactly like this, but something similar:
    5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 6 months ago
      There’s this too on the net ...

      Poking around Google books indicates that a company called A.H. Lewis used the words "vim pep vigor" in their advertising in the 1920s to promote their Nature's Remedy pills.

      Is it possible the center design is the letters A H L C or some similar combination?

      If that's the case I would suggest that this item was given to druggists and was somehow involved in the display of AH Lewis products, most likely the Nature's Remedy pills.

      Any experts on early 20th century patent medicines care to weigh in? I'm so far out on a limb here I can see my house.”

    6. keramikos, 6 months ago
      Perhaps I should have said cables instead of springs, but it does seem like it could have been an element of some vintage exercise equipment

      With regard to what vetraio50 said about it looking masonic, that was my first impression as well.

      That one component of the emblem that the antique forum people thought might be a "C" character did remind me a bit of the all-seeing eye.

      However, there was something else nagging at the back of my brain about the emblem. Apparently for me, all roads lead to Singer, because it turned out to be the Singer decal on a model 29:

      Oh well. What it does suggest is that this item might be a contemporary of the Singer model 29. ISMACS says the model 29 first came out in 1877, but the oldest one I could find in the serial number tables was from 1900. That kind of makes sense, because the serial number tables don't have any model number information for pre-1900 machines.

      Anyway, the emblem on this thing strikes me as being 1900-ish.
    7. keramikos, 6 months ago
      vetraio50, I saw that on Reddit dot com, but got distracted by the link to the antique forum. I did briefly look at content for A. H. Lewis, but no joy thus far.
    8. hotairfan hotairfan, 6 months ago
      You guys are great in following up leads. I compared the Singer photo with the emblem that keramikos entered. There is a definite large "S" in the middle of the Singer decal. I can't see this "S" in the questionable emblem. Could it me that decals changed as models changed? I don't know. All I do know is all of you would make good private detectives. You seen to follow up any and all leads. I thank you all for your help. Perhaps I will never know for sure.
    9. keramikos, 6 months ago
      hotairfan, You're welcome. :-)

      I think everybody who's commented on this intriguing item wants to see the mystery solved.

      However, I think I should clarify something. When I brought up the Singer model 29 decal, I was only trying to point out the stylistic similarity.

      Here's the Singer decal by itself so you can see it more clearly:

      You can see how the designer cleverly interwove uppercase "S," "M," "C," and lowercase "o" characters to represent Singer Manufacturing Co(mpany).

      At the antique forum, one of the users highlighted in red what they thought were all of the characters in the emblem on your mystery item.





      Then another user pointed out that the little football-shaped design in the very center might be a lowercase character "o."

      So the emblem might well be a clever interweaving of "A," "H," "D," "C," and "o" (AHD Co.).

      It struck me that it wasn't the same, but stylistically similar to the Singer decal which I've only ever seen on that one model of Singer sewing machine (the industrial model 29).

      Who knows? Perhaps one person designed them both, or the designer of one was inspired by the design of the other.
    10. keramikos, 6 months ago
      hotairfan, Just for grins, here is a 1903 patent for a razor strop holder (sorry about the USPTO listing, I couldn't seem to get Google Patents to cooperate):
    11. keramikos, 6 months ago
      And here is a Worthpoint listing for a Retractable Strop Holder:
    12. hotairfan hotairfan, 6 months ago
      thanks a bunch fellows.... I really appreciate all of your research.

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