Filarmonica Razors

Discussion in 'Straight Razors' started by DaltonGang, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    I thought it would be interesting to start conversations on Filarmonica Razors.
    I have seen three different numbers, 12, 13, and 14.
    I have also seen, the Novodur, Dobl Temple, and Sub Cero.
    Also seen on almost every Filly is, "Jose Monserrat Pou", and without the founders name.
    When were they made, and what are the differences between models?
    Are there such a thing as bad models?
    I have heard that Filarmonica also made the "Iberia" razors. If so, what other razors are rebranded Filarmonicas.

    Please feel free to include pics. We all love pictures of razors around here, especially if they are from your stash.

  2. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

  3. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Thanks. Your examples will be stellar. I'm wanting to stay away from links to B&B though.
    Karl G likes this.
  4. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    I understand. I think that it’s OK to copy with attribution (see above) - parts of this post have appeared elsewhere anyway, sometimes without attribution.

    Quote, by wrl

    Ok, the number of generations is arguable. I'll call it four distinct periods with caveats. We can see three in this thread. The first point to realize is that there are only two basic Filarmónica models -- the Especial (not initially 'Para Barbas Duras') & Doble Temple. As far as we can tell, all others are variations of the two original models. What is the difference between the two? I could go on and on about miniscule grind differences, profiles, and blade weights, but my personal suspicion is that JMP was just marketing more (Especial) & less (Doble Temple) decorated versions of the same razor.

    The second point is that it is not my wish to offend anyone's sensibilities or insult their razors with my descriptions. If you like your razor, then enjoy it in good health...these are just my thoughts.

    Third, I won't cover every variation of every marking, scale, box, gold seal, and re-branding lest I be at this all night.

    And finally, these are my observations based on (mostly) personal experience as well as discussions with others over the years. Although Filarmónica isn't my very favorite, I like old French and Spanish razors, so I geek out on this kind of gouge. I don't purport my findings to be absolutes. Please do find concrete information to challenge my assertions.

    1. First Generation: Jose Monserrat Pou's initial offerings - ~1915 - 1967.

    • Pre-1950 versions will NOT have "FABRICACION ESPAÑOLA / MADE IN SPAIN" stamped on the rear of the tang

    • Three main iterations of the "Especial" model (in order; transitional anomalies exist)
      • Tang shows curved Jose Monserrat Pou with stylized eagle (IMPERIAL brand), tall & vertical "14"
      • Tang shows IMPERIAL brand, straight Jose Monserrat Pou, short & horizontal "14" with lyre
      • Tang returns to curved Jose Monserrat Pou & tall/vertical "14", but with "FILARMONICA"
        • These would also have the 'musical' Especial/Filarmonica gold seal on the blade face
        • New white box with "Especial Para Barbas Duras" - the original EPBD

    • The original "Doble Temple"
      • Tang similar to Especial with curved Jose Monserrat Pou, tall & vertical "14", and "FILARMONICA"
      • A different gold seal on the face, most notable attribute being the "JMP" initials in the center
        • Collectors will refer to this as a "JMP signature blade", the initials were later replaced by the lyre
        • See my earlier image for a pristine example; these are more rare and more highly valued by some
        • The rest of the gold seal might have been generic; I've found a Carl Friedrich Ern Crown & Shield with the same seal design

    • The "Medallon Taurino" limited edition, bullfighting series was introduced
      • They're just Doble Temple 13s with six bullfighting themes on the face
      • Banderillas, Capote, Estocada, Cogida, Muleta, and Rejoneo
      • Three total iterations found across three generations of Filarmonica (anyone up to collect all 18?)
    • The "Sub Cero" was a cryo-treated Doble Temple. Tang stamp conventions apply. It stuck around into the next generations.

    2. Second Generation: I call it the "Filarmonica Aesthetic Period" (FAP...fapfapfapfapfap...) - 1967-1979.

    • The company seems to have decided that pretty makes profit, and thus updated their look.
      • New scales (a few versions), gold seals, and tang stamps mark this era.
      • Tang stamps settled into a uniform style with small horizontal number, lyre, JMP, model, and Filarmonica
    • The Especial blossomed into the more ornate Especial Para Barbas Duras with laser etching and tang grommet.
    • The Doble Temple continued as the brand's steadfast workhorse, steady as she goes.
    • Four more models appeared
      • TRIDUR Especial Para Barbas Duras - Trivalent chromium coating for less corrosion. It's harder to hone until the outer coating is removed. Name is on the face, otherwise identical to the EPBD.
      • Novodur Para Profesionales - not much known, though the marketing goal is clear. Notable are the embossed scales from the EPBD, third pin in the scales, model on the tang, and gold seal similar to Sub Cero
      • Especial Para Corte de Pelo - narrow EPBDs made for hair cutting with attachment. "Corte Cabello" on the face.
      • INOX / INOXIDABLE - stainless steel Doble Temple. I don't like stainless, so not much to say there. Most were 3rd gen and don't bear JMP's name.

    3. Third generation: Jose Monserrat Pou passed away sometime in the late '70s - early '80s. His son took over for a brief period, apparently continuing to sell out the old stock of materials. This is a murky period which I avoid. Straight razors were banned from Spanish barbershops in 1985 (Hepatitis & HIV?) and safety/cartridge razors had taken over worldwide, so the diminished demand (along with JMP's absence) had a direct affect on production. Many people have declared success with these razors, but they are considered hit or miss by collectors.

    • Key identifier is JMP's name having disappeared from the blades altogether
    • These are the razors you see in black "Sello Oro" boxes
    • Quality control was on the fritz with blade faces not matching tang stamps and other issues (lots of these on ebay from Japan)

    4. Fourth generation: JMP's son died shortly after his father, then the daughter took over. The company closed a few years later in 1990.

    • Very hard, brittle steel sourced from Pakistan - takes an edge, but falls apart sooner than expected
    • No tang marks, only perfunctory "FILARMONICA -DOBLE TEMPLE-" etched on the face
    • Some have Sello Oro packaging or just plastic sleeves
    • Simply avoid these unless you're a collector

    The first gen blades are considered by some to be the highest quality Filarmónica produced. I believe this is partially a matter of nostalgia, because when examining the first two generations historically & practically (on hones and face), there doesn't seem to be a difference between them with regard to steel and grinding. There is no reason that the earliest third gen razors shouldn't perform as well as previous generation blades, but any razor lacking Jose Monserrat Pou's name is a gamble. For those of you who got the good ones, congratulations! But caveat emptor to anyone on the hunt for a new Filarmónica.

  5. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Filarmonica scales have been called ‘cheap’ at different times and places. IME, they are not, but some of them are rather colorful! Here are some reasons why I don’t believe that they are poor quality.

    1. I’ve never seen, or heard of warped Filly scales. I’m sure they exist, but they are not common. I believe I asked Alfredo one time if he’s seen warped Filly scales and I think that the answer is ‘no’.

    2. They have pins made into the wedge that fit into the scales. This keeps the wedge from rotating. Very few razor scales have an anti rotation feature on the wedge.

    3. Try to find a pair of Filly scales without the razor. I have and failed, so far. They’re all on razors.
  6. Karl G

    Karl G Well-Known Member

    Here’s a pic. When I bought this I had a vague impression that these were good razors but they seemed to have a spotty reputation. So, I took a risk buying it and was rewarded with a top notch razor. Definitely in the upper crust and I like the unusual color. :happy036:

  7. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    These would be the third iteration of generation 1 as described in the post above. The scales are plain plastic and the box is typical of this version. I have seen this version in a scales with a lyre, but don’t know if they’re original to the razor. The pile side tang is unstamped, dating them to pre-1950 or pre-1952 depending on which source you believe.

    8AC8E9E1-D983-4E91-A447-7D5FA07FAF8B.jpeg C327A6AF-A133-4BF5-9A40-68B1ABA65591.jpeg 6AC5FE0F-A5BA-4F97-9981-3C5C0772090F.jpeg
  8. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Generation 2 Sub Cero and Novodur, note the third pin on the Novodur and the Novodur that @Karl G posted above. Pile side tang us stamped ‘Made in Spain’ in Spanish and English. Note that there’s no ‘14’ on the Novodur tang.

    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  9. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Generation 2 Doble Temple, pile side tang is stamped ‘Made in Spain’ in Spanish and English. Apologies for the streaks and smears, they’re stored in razor socks and I did not wipe the oil off.

    863D1765-3416-4517-ACE6-B546F2A931C6.jpeg B3325095-EAE6-4C4F-A9C1-E229571E98A4.jpeg
  10. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Here is a 13 Doble Temple I just worked on. It was Rusty Crusty this morning.


  11. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Well done Scott, that turned out beautifully.
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  12. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    Thank you Steve.

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  13. TestDepth

    TestDepth Well-Known Member

    This thread could be dangerous... and expensive :)
    I think I remember seeing a C-Mon connection in a smaller sized razor, 12’ish in size I think.
    I also don’t have an issue with the scales... there is a scale design with a Bailaora (translates to Flamenco dancer) that I find really beautiful.

    Gorgeous razors Steve!
  14. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Thank you Tom.
    TestDepth and Karl G like this.
  15. RezDog

    RezDog Well-Known Member


    I have one JMP razor in my display. It is from between imperial and Filarmonica and is a 14. I have had several others but this is the only one I have retained.
    Also in a thread at SRP on number 14 blade, Mr. Kronenberg, owner of Revisor calls bs on all of the 14 blanks having come from the Henckelwrath forge. So not a single person has any actually documentation that this happened, and even those in the industry don’t take it as a fact and dispute the claim.

    There were many other producers in Solingen, for example Gebr. Hartkopf, Bick & Biegmann etc.

    I would like to add some brands:
    - Monte Rosso
    - Heinrich Böker
    - Gebr. Weyersberg
    - Paul Schulze
    - Gebr. Korte
    - Uniwerk
    - Adam & Eve
    - Richard Witte
    - Romi
    - Edaco
    - J.A. Henckels
    - Guillermo Hoppe
    - Horstator
    - Robert Klaas
    - Dorko
    - Revisor


    Thomas Kronenberg
    CEO Revisor GmbH Solingen
  16. oscar11

    oscar11 Well-Known Member

    @Steve56 Thanks, that was a great history lesson. :happy088:
    Karl G, DaltonGang and Steve56 like this.
  17. Steve56

    Steve56 Well-Known Member

    Thank you @oscar11 - but credit goes to wrl. I’m just the messenger.
    Karl G likes this.
  18. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    Subscribed. I want to add a Filly to my stable.
  19. atbat82

    atbat82 Well-Known Member


    My humble Fili 12 with green scales. My smallest razor and a very nimble shaver.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  20. gssixgun

    gssixgun At this point in time...

    Supporting Vendor
    The Henckelwrath forge story was pushed for so long that is became a myth that had no proof pushed mostly by one person who's only proof came over beers in a bar
    speedster, Keithmax and Edison Carter like this.

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