The "what is" and " how to" thread for the Rolls Razor

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by gregindallas, Mar 10, 2011.

  1. IanD

    IanD Member

    I've just started picking up as many spares as I can - it's not as easy as buying razors, but so far I have a NOS replacement hone an a NOS replacement "friction clip and pin". I also picked up a brass blade case somewhere along the way.
  2. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    I've picked up an unusual telescopic handle, of a type I've not seen before, it's two piece with a hexagonal shank which telescopes into the handle, unlike the usual one piece telescopic handle which has a slightly tapered shank. When collapsed, the two look very similar (top handle is the two piece telescopic, bottom one is the usual one piece telescopic):

    2020-05-04 14.37.14.jpg
    When extended, the difference in the two handles become more obvious, the top handle is the odd one, note the hexagonal shank which telescopes into the knurled handle:

    2020-05-04 14.37.41.jpg

    Even more unusual, the odd handle dismantles into three sections:

    2020-05-04 14.38.18.jpg

    The friction pin is internally spring loaded by the telescopic shank, so it can be slid onto the blade, as you would do with the usual one piece telescopic, or, you can slacken the top section of the handle to allow the blade hook to pass easily onto the blade, then tightened to clamp the blade, as you would do with the usual two piece handle.
    Has anyone come across one of these 'hybrid' telescopic two piece handle? The handle is definitely a Rolls product as it has the usual engraved end cap and it came in the usual tubular buff coloured shipping tube 2020-05-04 14.37.14.jpg 2020-05-04 14.37.41.jpg 2020-05-04 14.38.18.jpg
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  3. Rickc

    Rickc New Member

    I have never come across either of these types in antique shops or on my extensive online searches. You say they came in a tube. Are they NOS?
  4. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    The usual one piece telescopic is one of the standard types Rolls supplied, if you read the instruction booklets / spare parts lists you will see mention of the two types (telescopic and two-piece) the telescopic was supplied with the Imperial No 3 razor, amongst other models, if you look at the 1954 dated invoice attached you'll see that both the standard and telescopic handles are listed, also, the pre-war leaflet indicates that the 'No. 1' model was supplied with the telescopic handle. There is also a single piece handle, similar in appearance to the usual two piece, but as the name suggests it is a single piece unit with a spring loaded ball in the blade hook to apply pressure to the blade to hold it in position in the handle.
    There is a well known issue with the telescopic handles in that they corrode when stored in a damp condition, this causes them to seize so they are no longer capable of extending as intended.
    Neither are NOS, both exhibit signs of wear on the knurling

    Steve scan.jpg scan_20200504144913.jpg
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
    Jabez 58, Tjebbe and PLANofMAN like this.
  5. Jabez 58

    Jabez 58 Active Member

    Hi Steve,
    it's a new one on me as well,
    I've not got one ive never seen one or even read anything about this type of handle!!
    It's a Total mystery!
    Looking at the invoice I don't see any clues either, so Rolls obviously were aware of this type!
    It's just strange this is the first one to come to light even with a 1954 service date.
    Well done you, what a great find I bet you were suprised. And so now the hunt is on ha ha who can find the second?? Good old Rolls Razors after all this time they still manage to surprise us all with something new
    The addiction lives on
    Steve_Keyte likes this.
  6. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    Here's a bit of an odd set, it's a 1950 dated seven day set, all the blades are dated 1950 and I assume they're all original and part of the 7 day set, as it's generally accepted that dated blades where only supplied with new razors / sets, replacement blades purchased separately are undated.
    The only reference I can find to a 7 day nickel plated set is in Robert K Waits book 'A Safety Razor Compendium' but the 7 day set pictured in the book has uncased blades, the set I have has all metal, plated cases, but the real curio is that inside the lid is written 'gold plated' which it obviously isn't!
    So, in 1950, did someone put together a 7 day nickel plated set at the factory for someone, perhaps a customer, but the only presentation cases available where the ones for the gold plated sets, as I've never seen any advertising for 7 day nickel sets.

    2020-05-22 17.16.09.jpg 2020-05-22 17.14.27.jpg 2020-05-22 17.16.21.jpg 2020-05-22 17.15.45.jpg
    Old School likes this.
  7. Jabez 58

    Jabez 58 Active Member

    Hi steve,
    well I’ve got to say that you manage to keep finding them!!
    Yes I totally agree with you about the dating system, so with all blades dated the same then to my mind that’s the date of the entire set.
    I have seen advert sheets with the gold plated week set and some for nickel plate blades in 3 or 6 boxed sets but not anything relating to a nickel plate blade week set.
    is it an error, is it bespoke set? Well I guess we will never know for sure, I do know that when it comes to Rolls Razors after all these years they still seem to be forever coming to light with something totally out of the blue to keep the intrigue alive, if they needed it. They are just so addictive and still give a good shave.
  8. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    Yes Gra, it's a real oddity and as you say, we'll never know its history, where did the seven 1950 dated blades come from if not the factory and I can't imagine someone buying seven individual razors just to obtain blades to make a seven day set up in an existing box, you'd just go and buy 7 replacement blades. I do have a boxed 7 day set of blades, in the usual blue fake sharkskin box, all the blades are in the usual dark coloured Bakelite cases and I've also got a 4 day blade set, again in the blue fake sharkskin box and dark Bakelite cases, but this 7 day blade set, complete with razor is a bit of an oddity

  9. IanD

    IanD Member

    Rolls handle_resized_1.jpg I just received a NOS replacement handle, and it's the hex shank type. Came complete in the tube.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  10. Rickc

    Rickc New Member

    Great find! Love the printing on the tube.
  11. Mark Tyers

    Mark Tyers Member

    I have all the models except the stainless steel imperial model 3 (or maybe i do?).
    Is there a way to identify these visually?
    If I look online at photos are there any identifying features?
  12. eharriett

    eharriett New Member

    Holy cats! I can't believe I missed this mega thread!

    I love my Rolls. Have an Imperial I use every few weeks. I just found a (possibly) Popular model -- pebbled doors that I am taking a chance on and am awaiting it to arrive. Probably take a month to get here. I am hoping I can send this one out and get it restored. Looks like it can be salvaged.
  13. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    I have a popular model in my collection, main problem / issue with restoring them is the fact that none of the parts from the later razors will fit. The actual blade is quiet a bit smaller than the Viscount / Imperial blade and even the hone and strop are a different size and the handle is completely different, so the only source of parts would be another popular model

  14. eharriett

    eharriett New Member

    I'm excited about getting mine. I've seen so little information about it that I actually stumbled upon it quite by accident. From the pics, the stone appears to be intact and the strop appears restorable. There's a couple of rust spots on the blade, but no chips, so I am hoping I can get things to a professional. I am really hoping the pics did not lie and it can become a worker. In general, while Rolls razors are practically ubiquitous, these older models have almost nothing about them.
  15. Old School

    Old School *$&%@#~

    Supporting Vendor
    Pics of this popular model.
    I've got a whetter, a traveler, and 2 new blades still wrapped in paper in bakelite cases...
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  16. eharriett

    eharriett New Member

    I'll post pics of mine once it gets here. Would love to see some others, though, too.
    Old School likes this.
  17. Jabez 58

    Jabez 58 Active Member

    Hi all,
    Well it never ceases to amaze me how just like the Rolls themselves this great thread pops back up time and again with another of us hooked on the addictive RRs confesses and comes forward!
    What with all the lockdowns and travel restrictions here in the UK since March I’ve not had a chance to get out and about to increase my collection apart from a little bakelite jar of paste and a nice unused spare blade last February. Still at least I’ve been spared the “what have you got now, not more Rolls”!!! from the wife
    I can’t put my finger on it as to why, but with all the wide and varied razors and kit I’ve collected over the years it’s still the Rolls Razors the just grips me, I just can’t explain what it is from the concept to the the engineering to the using it’s just something else. I only wish I had discovered them earlier.
    and apart form everything else I still get a great shave from them .
  18. eharriett

    eharriett New Member

    Well, all I can say is congratulations! I spent a whole week of my spare reading time reading every post on this thread. 7 days to get through 36 pages. This has got to be one of the most useful threads on this board. The irony is I do not think the genius who started it is even here anymore.

    Regardless, I did learn a few things. My biggest takeaways from my week long reading:

    1. The stones can be put back together with a bit of glue, and powder (I assume talc powder, I did not catch a specific type).
    2. The friction pad can be replaced by getting a type of vulcanized rubber -- I have not yet followed the link to try to get some, but it is probably going to be a good idea to do so.
    3. If you want to rehone the blade from a newly purchased razor, place either 1, 2, or 4 pieces of electrical tape on each side of the spine, then hone on a 1k/4k/8k/12k progression. I only have a 4k/8k stone, and not entirely sure yet about what I'd get from that. Also have not made my decision about the taping thing.

    So color me impressed. I came here originally because I have an Imperial #2 and love it. I also found an old Popular model and it is on its way here and wasn't sure what I would do with it yet. And now I'm looking at adding other models to my collection and seeing what I can do with them, too. Also, now I want to find a brush.

    Thanks. The girlfriend is now wondering where I'm going to stash all these, not to mention how I'll ever possibly be able to use them all :angelic013:
    twhite likes this.
  19. Steve_Keyte

    Steve_Keyte Active Member

    The friction pad is actually a compressed cellulose fibre material, if you follow the link I provided you'll find the correct thickness of material to use, this is slightly thicker than the originals, however, this doesn't seem to affect the performance of the friction assembly
  20. twhite

    twhite Peeping Tom

    I love the Rolls blades. I even made my own wedge blade razor. It utilizes the Rolls blades.
    I do all of my honing on Naniwa stones and strop by hand. It took a few weeks to locate 7 blades on the cheap to make a 7 day set.

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