The first narrow-bladed (CUt Throat Razor) folding straight razors were first listed by a Sheffield, England manufacturer in 1680. By 1740, Benjamin Huntsman was making straight razors complete with decorated handles and hollow-ground blades made from cast steel, using a process he himself invented. Huntsman's process was adopted by the French sometime later; albeit reluctantly at first due to nationalist sentiments. The English manufacturers were even more reluctant than the French to adopt the process and only did so after they saw its success in France.
The latest increase in sales is part of an overall growth in demand for straight razors over the past three years which has also seen an increase in the number of barbers offering straight razor shaves.The phenomenon seems to be driven by renewed nostalgia for things retro such as the straight razor which evokes simpler notions of the past such as the "macho" image associated with its use and also the skill required to shave with it which can be a source of pride.
The latest James Bond film Skyfall has renewed interest on straight razors due to a scene when the agent shaves with one and his co-star Naomie Harris helps him finish shaving while remarking that “sometimes the old ways are the best”.Online straight razor retailers have reported increased sales ranging from 50% to over 400% due to the exposure generated by the film