The Liebel Razor (1937)

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by jmudrick, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Virtually everything we know about the history of the rare Belgian Liebel razor comes from the website maintained by Pierre Janvier, the grandson of the razor's manufacturer.

    http://www.littlegun.be/arme belge/artisans identifies s/a schlemmer prosper fr.htm

    In a few words, (Jean Marie) Schlemmer Prosper (1889-1953) of Liege, Belgium, began as a maker of beautiful, and no doubt expensive bespoke revolvers and shotguns. He patented a three barrel shotgun. Shortly after relocating his operations back to Liege he began a cutlery sideline business and in 1935 began distribution of Ben Hur safety razors (made by the German Apollo for distribution in France and the colonies).

    In 1937 he began selling his own Liebel saftety razor (from Liege-Belgium). How long the razor was produced and in what volume is unknown but an educated guess would be not long and not many -- but long enough to see variant handles and cases.

    I have found but a half dozen examples floating around the interwebs. Whether he himself manufactured handles for his unique razor head is not certain, as there are at least four different variants to be seen among those few extant examples, including lined, knurled, and smooth. The razor was manufactured in both two and three piece versions with at least three types of cases.

    Some examples follow.

    [​IMG]
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    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  2. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    How's the shave? Marvelously smooth. Pictured with Blackland handle.[​IMG]
     
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  3. stingraysrock

    stingraysrock PIF'd away his custom title

    I wonder if Merkur modeled the head of the Progress after the Liebel design. That was my first thought when I saw the side view pic.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  4. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    very cool razor..
     
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  5. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere, so I will here, the head on the Liebel is shaped to provide differential aggression on each side of the head , a la the Gibbs +/- or L'Essor three piece razors. It's pretty subtle but the difference in cap span is apparent. Cap span on the milder side is as small as I've seen and required some really precise machining.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
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  6. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    I don't know the history of the big lather channel guard. The Progress and Walbusch plate is flat though, so the blade is held differently from the Liebel.[​IMG]
     
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  7. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    It's a piece of art.
     
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  8. dangermouse

    dangermouse Well-Known Member

    That is very interesting. I've not seen this razor before but notice the 'Merkur' style head and guard; it's amazing, to me, how good designs carry on, through the years. With regard to French razors, there are some amazing designs and good quality razors that were way ahead of Britain and America. It's a fascinating hobby. Thanks for a great post.
     
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  9. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    I think the resemblance to the Merkur that I know is limited to the lather channel. The curved plate (with Timeless ears) of the Liebel contrasts with the platform style of the Walbusch and Merkur I've seen as pictured here (and above). The Liebel is the smoother shaver.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  10. mrchick

    mrchick Odd, Terrible Avatar

    Nice find! It’s a beauty. Thanks for the info.
     
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  11. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    you have a collection of really cool razors, i guess i chose the most walked path but then i am seeing it from here and not england.gillette is u.s.after all.never have seen the european side of razors..i am enjoying the euro soaps and stuff though..
     
  12. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Indeed I'm the adventurous sort and prefer the road less traveled :) .
     
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  13. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    Great write up. It looks like a good style for supply your own handle. All of the pictures are just beautiful. Thanks for showing it off.
     
  14. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    it would be cool for the den to try and put together a library of sorts for all of these well loved razors ..a history of per se..like the smithsonian of razor history ..
     
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  15. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Timeless DC 95 vs 1937 Liebel, Supermax BDT (2) in each. AOS Sandalwood. Edge Timeless but not by much. On the beard I prefer the Liebel.[​IMG]
     
  16. The Other Donald

    The Other Donald Well-Known Member

    Here's another razor that uses a lather channel guard. The Sonnal is German, post WW2, made of an aluminum alloy, and a very good shaver.

    IMG_2153.jpeg
     

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