If you are of a certain age then you might remember watching your dad lather up and get a clean, close shave with his handy (and extremely sharp) straight razor. You might also remember seeing him sharpen his razor on a leather belt or a strop. For the most part this type of shaving has gone out of style in favor of the more convenient disposable safety razors, although there is a small segment of the male population that still uses this old-fashioned equipment.
If one were to ask for a shave at the barber however, they would be treated to a hot foam lather, hot towel, and a straight razor shave done quite skillfully. But, how do barbers train to be so skilled at something so potentially dangerous as shaving a man’s neck (near veins and arteries)? Well, in the old days they had a really good way to help young apprentices to learn the delicate art of shaving someone else with a straight razor. Have a look at the novel method in the British Pathé clip below from 1950.