Photo Comparison of the Popular and "Popular" Rolls Razor

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by eharriett, Feb 16, 2021.

  1. eharriett

    eharriett New Member

    I admit it, I **LOVE** my Rolls Razors. And it is no small amount due to the megathread about the Rolls here. I am now collecting these things and am making attempts to restore some of these cases. Also learning -- the hard way -- and so far failing -- how to hone a razor blade.

    I've been trying to find one of the older, pre-Imperial Rolls razors, and out of sheer dumb luck, I found two. One came today. Something I have learned in my searches about early Rolls, is there is very few photographs out there about the pre-Imperials. This one is called the "Popular" model. Although I am not really sure how "Popular" this model was.

    The Imperial and later Viscount models all seem to be pretty much interchangable, with case materials being among the only differences. However, this one is decidedly different. I thought it might be a good idea to show some differences between my main working Rolls, an Imperial No. 2, and the Rolls Popular. I was originally going to place this in the megathread, but I thought it might be easier for future visitors to find and reference these pics if it received its own thread.

    I just got the Popular today. I wiped down the case tarnish with a polishing cloth, and using some vaseline I got some of the grime off the track. I have not done anything else yet. I expect to get this to look a lot better soon, but just in case its restoration breaks something (hey, it could happen -- I don't know what I'm doing!!), I wanted to do the photographing now. Also not even going to TOUCH rehoning this blade and using it until I figure out why my own honing efforts are not working.

    Let's begin with the top of the case. The image of the Whetter is very similar, but the Popular has a little "RR" symbol right under it. The whetter itself is more defined than the later imperial model. I tried to get a closer pic of it but I have not as yet been able to.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-1.jpg

    Next up: the back. The famous Rolls Trademark circle is not on the popular model.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-2.jpg

    Then comes a side view. The popular is a squared model. A touch thinner, but overall, the width is quite similar. Although bit shorter as well.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-3.jpg

    Now let's open 'er up!! In this view, you can really see the difference in the sizes between the two. The case latches are also different, with the Imperial (right) more sophisticated. Also notice the hone/strop handle. On the imperial, it is parted, leading people to believe ALL Rolls razors are meant to be stored with the handle between them. In this particular model of the imperial, the handle is meant to be stored in the track. On the popular, it MUST be stored in the track. Friction clip is also different.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-4.jpg

    Next I placed the handles on the stone. The imperial on the right is one of the later unscrewing telescopic ones. The popular seems to be a combination of the longer telescoping ones, and the smaller spring loaded ones. The blade fits loosely in it, so I have not yet determined if the spring is loose, the bracket is out of alignment, or it is not the correct handle. I'll know more when the second one comes and I have a comparison.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-5.jpg

    Ahh the blade. The imperial is the top, popular bottom. This picture shows several things. Obviously the size difference is one thing. However, I also wanted to photograph the engraving. It is a slightly different script on the Popular. It is also more defined (some of that definition might be lost when I try to remove the rust). I also found it interesting the patent numbers are not only the same, but survive from way back during the popular model into the Viscount era -- long after I would assume the patent expired! I always thought it would have been an earlier patent number, but nope! All those Viscounts are showing the patent numbers that would have been used for this popular model!
    JPEG image-604307420B83-6.jpg

    The spine. The popular blade does not have a year marking on it, although I don't know if it is just something Rolls did not do back then or if this is a replacement blade. You may speculate accordingly. Also, a different sized hole.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-7.jpg

    Another size comparison of the blade. One on top of the other.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-8.jpg

    And another
    JPEG image-604307420B83-9.jpg

    Another one over the other showing the definition of the engraving.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-10.jpg

    The assembled razor. Popular on the left. Imperial on the right
    JPEG image-604307420B83-11.jpg

    Case minus the blade. Blade pin sizes are very different.
    JPEG image-604307420B83-12.jpg

    So that's what I've got for you for the moment. I hope to get other documentary photos up here for others who would like to do the same research I did in the future. Please let me know if there's something else you would like to see.

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