Oops — poor razor research on NRK’s “Anno”

Yesterday I saw an episode of the series “Anno” on NRK. It is an exciting concept, not unlike TV2’s “Farmen”, but Anno is set to an urban environment (Bergen) and they try to live as in 1764. Participants receive different challenges, in the form of “craftsman tests» and when one have passed it, one gets a go at a “master test”. In the episode I saw they all had to forge their own cutlery in 1700s style, and the girl who had passed the “craftsman tests” also had to make a straight razor.

The participants did an awesome effort, and everyone got their cutlery (knife and fork) done in time. The razor was very nice, but I feel I must point out that — if the aim was that what they made should look like it did in the 1700s — then they have made a mistake on the blueprints to the straight razor. It was apparent that she was using drawings for a modern razor, with the form the straight razors got in the 1900s.

In the 1700s the blade on a razor was wedge shaped. Broadest at the start (the “toe” or “nose”), and gradually thinner towards the place where the handle is attached. The straight razor she made had a distinct end of the sharp edge (the «heel»). This «heel» was gradually developed in the 1800s. This is also the case with the «monkey tail”. The part of the blade that the handle is attached to, is called the «tange» (in norwegian). In the 1700s, the blade and the «tange» ended in a small “stub”. It then became gradually more common to have a “tail” on the end of the blade during the 1800s. This tail was gradually extended, and also got a graceful curve. The monkey tale’s function is to lay a finger in it when shaving. You then get a much better grip on the knife.

So — someone has done poor research on this:-)

b-kniv1-eng

Top razor: 1700s. No "monkey tail". Bottom razor: 1800s. A small "monkey tail".

Top razor: 1700s. No “monkey tail”.
Bottom razor: 1800s. A small “monkey tail”.

Typical 1700s straight razor

Typical 1700s straight razor

b-kniv1-eng

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