Branford House Antiques
A Historic 1850s Farmhouse on a Scenic Vermont Dairy Farm








Occupational Shaving Mugs & Related Antique Barber's Items

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.


OSM-Painter-G.A. Springet

This is a very unusual occupational shaving mug from around the turn-of-the-century. It features a lovely depicted paint bucket, brush, screw driver (for opening the paint bucket), an artist pallet and brushes. My guess is that Mr. Springet was a professional house painter who was also a struggling and aspiring weekend artist.

The mug is in good condition without any nicks, chips cracks or repairs. The image and the name are very clear, easy to see and to read and in vibrant color. The gold gilt on the bottom rim does show wear and there is a small indenture but the gold gilt has it covered indicating it was from the manufacturing process. The bottom of the mug does have a "V & D Austria" makers mark. The mug is approximately 3.5 inches high with a 3.5 inch diameter.

$235.00

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OSM-Brick Layer-Sam'l Noll

Samuel Noll was no doubt an excellent and proud bricklayer. He is depicted very clearly applying his trade on this occupational shaving mug. The image, color and name are vibrant, very clear and easy to read. The bottom of the mug displays the well known "T&V, Limoges France mark indicating this mug dates somewhere in the 1894 to 1906 time frame.

The mug stands about 3.5 inches high and has an approximate 3.75 inch diameter. It is in good condition without any nicks, chips, cracks or repairs.

$385.00

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OSM-Butcher-Fincisin

This occupational shaving mug features a large bulls' head in the center, a butchers saw and sharpening item on one side and a butcher cleaver and knife on the other side. The mug is in very good shape with very clear images (flowers on both sides), no nicks, chips, cracks or repairs but the name is faded and difficult to read.

The mug is approximately 4 inches high with a 3.5 inch diameter. There are no markings on the bottom of this mug.

$165.00

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OSM- Bird Hunter-WF Eaton

This occupational shaving mug clearly and very colorfully depicts a man with a hunting dog taking aim at three flushing game birds. It clearly is marked "W.F. Eaton". This mug is in very good condition and is without any nicks, chips, cracks or repairs. It does have faded gold trim on the top, bottom and sides of the mug. I has an approximate 3.75 inch diameter and same height. The bottom is only marked "4582".

$300.00

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OSM-Pig Farmer-F.B. Weedin

Wow, this is without a doubt my favorite all time occupational shaving mug. It features a wonderful folk art, full body pig. It reminds me of Warren Kimble's folk art cow only it dates to around 1890 and about 100 years before Warren's animal. I would presume that its owner, F.B. Weedin, was a very proud pig farmer and probably a 4H blue ribbon holder.

The image, color and name are all very clear, vibrant and easy to read. The gold guiding on the top, bottom and handle is very worn. There are no marks on the bottom of the Mug and it is approximately 3.75 inches high with a 3.5 inch diameter. The mug is in good condition without any nicks, chips, cracks or repairs.

$725.00

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OSM-Bunting-Cobbler

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.

$525.00

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Amber "Quban" Barbers' Bottle

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.

$85.00

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