Antique razors are typically straight razors valued by collectors and dating as far back as the 17th century. The blades of antique razors are typically made of steel, but the handles show more variety and can be made of wood, sterling silver, bone, mother-of-pearl or tortoise shell.
Until 1870, most metal razors were made in Sheffield, England. Beginning in 1870, companies in Germany and the United States began to manufacture razors as well. Significant razor manufacturers whose blades are prized by collectors include the Case, Garland Cutlery, J.R. Torrey Razor and Robeson Cutting companies in the United States; Böker, Dovo and Krupp in Germany; and Wade and Butcher and George Wostenholm & Son in the United Kingdom.
Originally, men did not shave themselves with straight razors but visited barbershops where barbers kept the blades sharp on a leather strop. In the 19th century, more men began to shave themselves, and handles of razors designed for home use became very elaborate. During this era, razors were sold in sets of seven so that men could sharpen them all on one day and have fresh razors available for each day of the week.
Some owners of antique razors continue to use them as well as collect them, sometimes bringing them to barber shops for the barber to use.