Since 1950, Allan MacNab of Turtleford has been collecting antique shaving supplies.
He was drawn to the items by the ingenuity of the old time mechanics that make the pieces work, sparking an interest that saw him frequently attending antique shows in search of every old razor kit he could get his hands on.
“I used to sell antiques and I went out to every show and I bought every shaving razor, sharpener and everything I could buy,” said MacNab with a proud smile, showing off his collection. “I just fell in love with it and now I’m trying to move it on because the kids won’t want it, that’s for sure.”
The retired antiques dealer holds up an aged metal Kriss Kross blade stropper, his favourite piece, and demonstrates how it works. He spins a miniature handle on the top of the device and the small gears inside cause a razor blade holder to spin out and extend from the stropper. This is an example of how back in the day, without electricity, people had to be clever in their engineering, even with ordinary things like shaving supplies.
Though he is unsure on the date of this particular piece, it is obviously decades old.
“Just interested in the stuff that they do,” he said. “The people back in those days they had a lot of intelligence. They have some very interesting pieces.”
When it came to the collecting though, it wasn’t the antiques themselves that MacNab considered his favourite part. Going out and hitting up all the antique shows he could had a social aspect that he really enjoyed. It gave him a chance to meet new people and often he would run into the familiar faces of other antique hobbyists, who like him, were avid attendees of such events.
“Meeting the people and dickering with them. Everyone wants a deal, eh,” he said, laughing as he reminisced. “Meeting different people. I remember I used to go to shows and we used to also meet the same people. See them every year.”
It’s obvious by MacNab’s frequent laughter and the glowing smile on his face that collecting was something he had a high affection for. He estimates his shaving collection’s worth is somewhere around the $1,700 mark and that doesn’t include the other antiques set up on his table at the event.
There are old clothing irons, brass bells, a telephone, which by the look of it could have been put together by Alexander Graham Bell himself, and an old water bucket carrier, complete with a wooden yoke to go around the user’s neck.
“That’s very unique. You don’t see them like that,” he said, showing how the chains that hang from the yoke attach to the water buckets. “You see them homemade but that one is factory made.”
Seeing someone so invested and proud of his collection is inspiring, which in turn strikes a disheartening chord in knowing that everything he’s showing off is now up for sale.