From the Vault - featured items from our collection

Strop (PH88.24.27)


     Our newest From the Vault item is a leather strop produced by N.D. & C Co. out of the United States of America and was likely manufactured in the late 19th or early 20th century. Strops, while gaining popularity in recent years with the resurgence of straight razor use, are a nearly forgotten part of shaving. These strips of leather, or sometimes other materials, were used to sharpen a blade prior to shaving. The results are similar to those as honing but instead of removing metal from the blade's edge, stropping re-aligns the indentations without removing any material. This is done by drawing the blade spine-first along the strop. The blade is rotated along the spine, so that the edge moves away from the strop and the spine rests on the strop to preserve the edge. If the blade is rotated on the edge, it will cause the leather to roll the blade and dull the edge.

     This particular strop is a hanging strop, named because it is hung from one end for storage and during use. Two strips of leather with thick leather handles are hung from a metal loop at the top end. The one handle is stamped white with the company’s logo and “MADE IN U.S.A.”. Below this is stamped a white laurel wreath with 378 in the centre. At the bottom of the handle is the white stamped image of a crown. The top of the strop is stamped with “LEATHER CANVAS” in white. Below this is stamped “SHARPEN”. On the second strip of leather is “BROKE IN” stamped in white at the top and below this is stamped “FINISH”.

     This item was accessioned into the Sam Waller Museum collection on 11 August 1988.

Added: April, 2014

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