Useful Resources


Robert Waits — A Safety Razor Compendium

The best available resource for vintage razors. I recommend the digital PDF version as you can search through it. It is available here. The book is not without errors and my list of errata can be found here.

Robert Waits — Before Gillette

Another great book by Robert Waits about the history of the Safety Razor from 1762 to 1901. A digital copy is available here.

Howard Hazelcorn — Revised Guide to Kampfe Bros. Wedge Blade Star Safey Razors

The Standard work on Kampfe Razors. There are three editions and all of them are as rare as hen's teeth as they were privately published in small numbers. Good luck finding a copy.

Renzo Jardella — Star Safety Razors and Accessories 1875-1919

A lavish book with great illustrations. The author occasionally sells copies on eBay.

Useful links when researching vintage patents

European Patent Office —

My goto resource for vintage patents. Great search facilities and worldwide coverage.
If, like me, you prefer their old layout before they updated their website, follow this link

Google Patents —

Google's search engine for patents. Quite good, but I prefer the EPO's (old) user interface. Quite often Google links to the EPO website for details.

U.S. Patent Office —

This site also has trademark information, but the user interface is often confusing and it only covers U.S. documents.

Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt —

The German Patent Office. A site to keep an eye on, if they digitize the patents they only have on microfiche.

The Lens Patent Search —

A good resource when searching by inventor names.

PatBase —

A commercial patent database, but they have a free “patent classification explorer”.

Patentscope (WIPO) —

A patent database by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Perfect if you only have a patent number, but don't know the country.

Patent History Materials Index -

From the University of New Hampshire. Lots of original patent resources from the 19th century.
They also have the complete text of A History of the Early Patent Offices: The Patent Office Pony by Kenneth W. Dobyns

Useful links when researching historical information

FamilySearch —

A very good website run by the Mormon Church. First port of call for births, marriages, immigration, census information and deaths.
Some of the information is not accessible from the internet, but only from affiliated libraries. My local UK library used to be one of them. You can find documents using the computers at the library and email them to yourself. Unfortunately, I have moved and my current local library does not have this facility.

Find A Grave —

Good for deaths, but only good for deaths.

FreeCen —

UK census information up to 1891.

Ancestry —

Another website for finding historical documents. However, it's subscription only and quite expensive.

One-Step Webpages —

A great free resource for U.S. immigration records, census records including information about the ships carrying immigrants to the U.S.

New York Times archive

I can no longer recommend the New York Times archive as a source.
The information is brilliant, but it is a paid subscription that is almost impossible to cancel.
The venerable New York Times has turned into a scam. Stay well clear of them. —

You can search thousands of newspapers for names of individuals or companies. It's a paid subscription, but it can be cancelled anytime without problems.