Occupational Shaving Mugs
Louis Pastuers' work on the effects of bacteria in the 1870s & 1880s led to new sanitation laws throughout the United States and it became required that each client of a barber have his own shaving mug and mugs were not to be shared. These laws were generally in effect from the 1880s to around 1920. It is interesting to note that there was no restriction in the sharing of razors, just the mugs.
Blank shaving mugs, usually from Germany or France, would have the client's name hand painted, usually in beautiful calligraphy, and a scene painted on the mug depicting the client's profession or occupation. These "occupational shaving mugs" then would be predominately displayed in the barber shop. This display became like business cards, yellow pages or the what internet is today. When someone in the neighborhood needed a trade or service they would simply stop in the barber shop and check out the mugs for the service they required. Some recent auction records of $20,000 to $30,000 have been reached for rare occupational mugs.
This occupational shaving mug features a teamster driving a heavy duty wagon being pulled by two horses. It is dated 1925 thus indicating that this teamster is about to be obsoleted by a gasoline engine truck. This mug is in very good condition with all the script clear and easy to read. The image is very clear and in bright colors. There are no nicks, chips cracks or repairs. It is marked Germany on the bottom. The top and bottom diameters and the height are all approximately 3.5 inches.
This occupational shaving mug from the late 19th century features a cobbler (shoemaker) hard at work on his cobbler's bench. His name is O. (I bet for Otto) Bunting. The name and the depiction are clear and very easy to interpret. The mug has an approximate 3.75 inch diameter and is about 4 inches tall. There are no makers marks or other signatures. It does have a "2" indicated on the bottom of the mug. It is in very good condition without any nicks, chips, cracks or repairs.
This unusual occupational shaving mug, from around the turn-0f-the-century, features a craftsman hard at work at his work bench making tin duct works. The name, M. U. Chaplin, is very clear and easy to read. The graphic feature bright colors and is clear and easy to make out. The mug is in great shape without any nicks, chips, cracks or repairs. There are no manufacturer or artist marks on the bottom.
This Occupational Shaving Mug features a doctor in a beaver hat on his way to a house call in a one horse buggy. It has excellent color with the image and writing clear and easy to read. The are no nicks, chips or cracks. The mug is approximately 3.5 in diameter and 3.5 inches high.
This occupational shaving mug features an electric trolley car and driver, K.G. Palmer. The trolley is very clearly marked "Meriden Electric RR" and is very clear, easy to read and with bright colors. The mug has an approximate 3 inch diameter and stands about 3.25 inches high. It is in good condition and without any nicks, chips or cracks. There are no markings on the bottom of the mug.
This occupational shaving mug depicts a skull and crossbones. I have asked many collectors and the vocations they suggested might be represented by the skull and crossbones includes undertaker, pharmacist, 19th century pirate and, my favorite and the one I am going with, the Yale secret society called Skull & Crossbones. This then would be more of a Fraternity Shaving Mug but can you imagine how rare and ironic it would be for the Yale alumnus to have his secret society membership identified and on display in the public barbershop?
The writing on this mug is very clear and easy to read. The depiction is also very clear. The mug is in excellent condition and without any nicks, chips, cracks or repairs. The mug stands approximately 3.5 inches tall and has a 3.5 inch top and bottom diameter.
This cranberry barbers' bottle with etched designs comes with its original glass stopper and is in good condition. While the bottom of the glass stopper does have a few small nicks they are not noticeable when in the bottle and there are no other cracks, nicks or chips. The bottle with the stopper stands approximately seven (7) inches tall. This bottle dates to the 1890s.
This amber barbers bottle is marked in raised letters: "Qban, for the hair". It stands approximately seven (7) inches tall. There is no cap or stopper with this bottle. It is in good condition without any nicks, chips or cracks.
This hobnail, amber, barbers' bottle dates to around the 1880s. It is approximately 7 inches tall. It is in very good condition with only a couple of very minor flea bites under the top lip of the bottle and with no cracks, chips or nicks. There is no stopper with this bottle.
This milk glass white barbers bottle has raised floral decoration still showing traces of the original paint. We feel it dates to the 1890s. It has its original milt glass stopper and is in good condition with only a few small flea bites on the rim. It is approximately 6 inches wide at the base and it stands about 9.5 inches tall.
All right, I know this isn't an occupational shaving mug, but it is such a cool barber type item and probably right at the end of the occupational shaving mug period that I thought it had a place here.
I have no idea how it works and am afraid to plug it in. The wires are frayed and scary looking which add to the image. I think that the blade probably fibrated like an electric tooth brush does today. The razor is marked "Turk" and as patented. I would guess it to date to the late 1920s or early 1930s.