How people used to shave?

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How people used to shave? The shaver, which is in everyone’s home today, is actually a very new invention. If we go back a little, we see how tough it was to shave. If you were a man living in a cave, perhaps you would have tried to make tweezers out of a stone you carved yourself. How were men used to shave before? You’ll be thankful for the razor! Let’s take a look together.

Shaving with a shark tooth

Some cave paintings show that 30,000 years ago people took their hair or beards with tweezers they made from mussel shells. Later, people who sharpened mussel shells, shark teeth, or flint and trimmed their beards, inventing the kind of first razors.

Gold tweezers recovered from the royal cemetery of Ur, Iraq
Gold tweezers recovered from the royal cemetery of Ur, Iraq

Obsidian: A material abundant in Anatolia

Natural glass, known as obsidian or volcano glass, is found around some volcanoes all around Anatolia. If the mixture of quartz and feldspar in lavas cools quickly, it turns into natural glass without crystallization. Obsidian is a material that has been found in abundance in Asia Minor for thousands of years. Obsidian was very valuable from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age because it was found in a limited number of countries. Razors made of obsidian were the sharpest tools in the world at the time. Therefore, for thousands of years, shaving with obsidian razors has been considered a privilege.

Copper becomes common

Examinations with an electron microscope showed that even the sharp edges of modern steel surgical blades are not as smooth as an obsidian razor. After the Stone Age, when copper came into use, razors were made of copper. Later in the Bronze Age, bronze razors that were harder than copper were preferred.

Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Roman razors

It is known that some kings shaved their hair and beards with a bronze razor during the Sumerian era. Razors and mirrors made of bronze were found in the tombs of the pharaohs. In Egypt, clergy and soldiers shaved their hair and beards. Most of the pharaohs also had their hair and beard shaved. Although hair was grown in some periods in Egypt, the beard was usually cut. Egyptian pharaohs wore fake beards in some ceremonies. There are many obsidian razors found in pharaoh tombs.

Caesar getting shaved, Source HBO series Rome

Alexander wanted his soldiers to have no beard

Iron razors came into use after the Iron Age began. Alexander the Great also had his beard cut. Alexander wanted the soldiers to be beardless since the opponents caught their opponents by the beard in battle. When the Greeks and later Romans invaded Egypt, they were impressed by the priests and soldiers shaving their hair and beards. Greeks and Romans also started to cut their beards over time.

Caesar used to have his beards removed with tweezers

The Roman Emperor Caesar used to have his beard removed with tweezers every day. Greeks and Romans also used hair removal creams, candle flame and pumice stone for this purpose. Emperor Hadrian, on the other hand, was thought to have grown a beard to hide the deformity on his face.

Modern Razor

The first modern steel razor was made in England in 1680

Since bronze and iron razors dulled so quickly, barbers would sharpen their razors with whetstone and water and try not to cause problems for those who shave. Barbers were among the respected people in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The shape of bronze and iron razors did not change much in the Middle Ages. The first modern steel razor was made in England in 1680. British inventor B. Huntsman perfected the razor in 1740.

Explore Turkey with licensed Turkish tour guide Hasan Gulday

Hire tour guide in Turkey to learn interesting trivia knowledge

I love to spice up my tours with some interesting information about the life in the old times. I believe it helps my guests to enjoy their touring experience even more. Contact me to learn more about life in the ancient times and to hire a professional licensed English-speaking tour guide in Turkey. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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