Karl Brächer Jr. Water Razor Hone (142 x 39 x 18mm)

 Size: 142 x 39 x 18mm weight:  277gr.
Density: XXXgr./cm³ /  Estimated grit size:  very fine > 12K
Usage: only use water, no oil or grease!
Color: yellow-green (YG), gelbgrün
Karl Brächer Jr./Carl Brächer Jr. , Sonneberg
Otto Brächer Schleifmaterialien, Sonneberg
Logo/Shortcut: KBJr.

 About this specific Stone:
This is a vintage Karl Brächer Jr. Stone i got from England. The label isn’t well visible any more. But comparing other stones which were sold on the market i could identify it. Karl Brächer Jr. also written as Carl Brächer Jr. was a stone cutter in Sonneberg offering a Cutting Service and selling all kinds of different stones (Arkansas, Washita, Saxonian Oilstones, Belgian Waterwhetstones, Scottish Stones, Levant Stones and Italian Stones).

Contracts from Otto Brächer Schleifmaterialien, Sonneberg
There are older contracts between Otto Brächer Schleifmaterialien, Sonneberg. Probably a follow up company to Karl Brächer. They leased a quarry in “Forstort Katzheider Kopf Abteilung 74b” from the 1th October 1940 to 30th September 1942. The lease was 200 reichsmark for one year, which they had to pay before the new year started. Additionally they paid a goldlease fee for each meter of whetstones which have been quarried. The fee was 25 reichsmark. The contract was renewed two times and ended on the 30th September 1946.

origin: Thüringisches Staastarchiv Rudolstadt, Nr. 77 “Verpachtung von Steinbrüchen durch die Forstämter”, Pachtvertrag der Firma Otto Brächer, Schleifmaterialien in Sonneberg, Thüringisches Forstamt Großbreitenbach

General Information on Thuringian Water Razor Hones:
These stones are ones of the most known and well appreciated water razor hones today and they have been within the last 200 years. Beeing quarried in Thuringia in the region around Sonneberg (some Quarries were in Steinach, Steinheid, Goldisthal, Forschengereuth, Hämmern, Lauscha, etc.) These stones seem to have already been quarried since the 14th Century. Actually it’s a pity that there is no documented evidence about this fact . There are many historical sources naming these stones, which were sold under different older german names like (Wetzschalen, Abziehsteine, Poliersteine, etc.)

Probably the mostl well known water razor hones in the world.
Easy to use, very pretty consistent results.

The most interesting and most un-researched  Issue is the export of the Thuringian water hones around the world. They can be found everywhere around the world, especially in the USA, Russland, England, France, Spain and other countries. There are a bunch of retailers who sold the stones under their own trademark (f.ex. Bieber, Hahn, etc) . There were also a lot of US catalog companies who sold German Water Razor Hones, just to name a few here: Sears Roebruck, Gustav Knecht M.F.G. Barber Suplies, Theo A. Koch, and a lot more….also smaller Barber Supplies Stores and Companies had the stones in their product catalogues or in their stores. Within the second World War the sale of the german water razor hones were stopped which is well visible and documented in the Sears Roebruck catalogs.

One of the most known trader and exporter of the Thuringian water razor hones is “ESCHER” known during time periods as Escher & Co.  shortened E&Co., Escher & Sohn, Escher & Son, J.G. Escher & Sohn shortened JGES ). The Company was founded in 1789 by Johann Gottfried Escher from Sonneberg. Escher sold slate products in the first step afterwards their products ranged from soft water hones to hard oil-stones which were quarried from layers of Ordovician age and Devonian age.

The Company started early to sell their products after their foundation on the well-known world fair’s in Frankfurt, Leipzig (at the Union Messehaus) and Vienna. Escher was already selling products one year after their foundation on the fair in Frankfurt . Within the marketing on these fair’s Escher created a name/brand which got more and more attention around the world, probably this was the consequence of a well done marketing campaign which seems to work quite good to these days.

Between 1890 and 1925 the Escher Company had another additional business in producing and selling dolls. They had their own Puppet label signed (J. G. Escher & Sohn / IGES) with a Girl holding a puppet and a Bear in her hands.

Escher created a well-known “Brand” which is still known under Straight Razor Users and People working with fine instruments. The stones today, especially if the labels are full intact are sold for a big amount of money. But it has to be stated that only a label doesn’t say anything about the quality of these stones. So any of these Thuringian Stones without label might be in the same range or quality as a full labelled stone could be.

The last operating quarry (Christoph Luthard Fikken Sohn, Am Petersberg, Steinach) was closed in 1966, which was the end of the operating business of quarrying whetstones in this region. Actually there are nearly no official sources or stores where “Vintage” Thuringian Stones can be bought, most of the stones on the market are old finds or new old stocks from older closed companies.

External Links:

My Videos about technical topics:
Possible Touch Up Strokes on Thuringian Stone

My Videos from my Stones:

Escher & Co. Water Razor Hone type “Barber’s Delight”
yellow-green (Y/G) size: 6″x2″

Escher & Co. Water Razor Hone type “Baber’s Delight”
yellow-green (Y/G) and dark-blue (DB) size: 6″x2″

Escher & Co. Water Razor Hone Type “Rasierstube”
darkblue (DB) Size: 6″x2″

 Escher & Co. Wasserabziehstein
yellow-green (YG) size: 10″ x 2″

FASO Water Razor Hone in green C. Jul. Herbert packaging
dark-blue (DB) Size: 6″x2″

Karl Brächer Jr. Water Razor Hone
yellow-green (YG) size: X”xX”

O-ha! Magnet Elektrostein

The Celebrated Water Razor Hone in wooden Box

Thuringian double layered Stone
yellow-green (YG) and dark-blue (DB)

Thuringian Bout Stone No. 1 from Hatzicho

 Thuringian Bout Stone No. 2 from Hatzicho

Thuringian Bout Stone No. 3 from Hatzicho

Thuringian Stone in Wooden Box with four cutted corners

more Information from the shaving boards:
Razorandstone.com (R&S):
“Barbers Delight Escher”

Razorandstone.com (R&S):
“Wide Escher Hone”

Razorandstone.com (R&S):
“Nakayama Mizu Asagi vs Barbers Delight Escher”

Straightrazorplace.com (SRP):
“Escher Price”

Badgerandblade.com (B&B):
“Escher Thuringian Love Show of your rocks”

Gut-rasiert.de (GRF):
“Zeigt her eure Steine”

General Information on Thuringian
Water hones and the Escher Company:

“Thuringian waterwhetstones from the
J.G. Escher Company in Germany”

(C) by Peter Buhlmann (Hatzicho), Oktober 2013

by Gamma

Olivia-Seife.de: “Steinevergleich”

Zeno.org “Tonschiefer”

other Literature/Information:

Bautsch, Riederer
„Zur Herkunft der Wetzsteine aus der Grabung
aus dem Burgwall in Berlin Spandau“
Rhythmus und Saisonalität, Kongreßakten des 5. Symposions des Mediävistenverbandes in Göttingen, 1933
Jan Thorbecke Verlag Sigmaringen, 1995

Hahn, Renate
“Sonneberger Spielzeug – Made in Judenbach”, 2010

Schwämmlein, Thomas
“Wetzsteinbergbau und Wetzsteinherstellung
im Landkreis Sonneberg”
Geschichts- und Köhlerverein
Mengersgereuth-Hämmern e.V. Nr. 8

Schwämmlein, Thomas
“Herstellung und Handel mit Wetzsteinen im Bereich des Thüringer Schiefergebirges während des frühen und hohen Mittelalters”
Geschichts- und Köhlerverein
Mengersgereuth-Hämmern e.V. Nr. 21

Thoma, Witzgall, Bravidor
„Seminarfacharbeit Gruppe 5 “Kulturelle und wirtschaftliche Bedeutung von Schiefern im Thüringer Schiefergebirge am Beispiel des Staatsbruchs Lehesten”

Thüringisches Staastarchiv Rudolstadt
Nr. 77 “Verpachtung von Steinbrüchen durch die Forstämter”
Pachtvertrag der Firma Otto Brächer, Schleifmaterialien in Sonneberg
Thüringisches Forstamt Großbreitenbach

Volk, Max
„Die Wetzschiefervorkommen in der Phycodenserie bei Mengersgereuth-Hämmern, Steinach und Gräfenthal“
Hallesches Jahrbuch Mitteldeutsche Erdgeschichte, 7. Band, 1965
B.G. Teubner Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig, 1966

Volk, Max
„Die Hiftenberger Wetzsteinbrüche“
Hallesches Jahrbuch Mitteldeutsche Erdgeschichte, 8. Band, 1966
B.G. Teubner Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig, 1967

Volk, Max
„Volkstümliche Aufsätze zur Geschichte von Geologie und Bergbau“
Ausgewählte Aufsätze Teil 7, Herausgegeben von Karl Eichhorn
Museumsverein Schieferbergbau Steinach/Thüringen e.V., 2005

Weise, Gerhard
„Die Nutzung thüringischer Gesteine zur Herstellung von Wetzsteinen“

Weber, Martin
“Wetzschiefer – Wetzsteine bei Lauenstein und Gräfenthal”
Beitrag Geologie Thüringen, N.F. 12, 71-97, 5 Abb., 5 Tab., Jena 2005

© text and Pictures