Doing my research on sharpening stones and razor hones, old pricelists are a very important resource for a lot of lost details and information. The knowledge about vintage stone types and the knowledge about old logos and trademarks are very helpful and this adds a lot of more importance to my Company profiles.
Sometimes when beeing into a research sharing all information available you own is not a good idea, because you need to keep information strictly for you. But finishing the work i thought it would be great to have the knowledge available for everbody out there. Thats why i will start to release the available pricelists i own from some of the companies i did researches of. Have fun and enjoy reading those.
This section will be updated part by part, so check back from time to time.
DE: Pierres de Touche = Probiersteine
Diese Steintypen wurden als Probiersteine für Edelmetalle verkauft. Oft verwendete man hierfür Kiseselgesteine (z.B. Lydit, auch Radilarit oder Kieselschiefer genannt), ein schwarzes mit weissen Adern durchsetztes hartes Gestein. Beim Abziehen von Gold oder Silber verblieb ein Abrieb auf dem Stein und man konnte sehr gut den Gehalt des Edelmetalles bestimmen. Es kamen aber auch andere harte Steine zum Einsatz welche von Säuren nicht angegriffen wurden.
EN: Pierres de Touche = Testing Stones
These types of stones have been sold as “Testing Stones” for precious metals like gold or silver. Often siliceous rocks were used (f.ex. Lydite, called also radilarite), a black hard stone with white streaks. When rubbing gold or silver over the stone a trace will stay on the stone. With the trace its possible to estimate the content of the precious metal. Also other hard types of stones have been used, stones which do not show any reaction to acid.
DE: Pierres Hindostan ou Canada = Hindostan + Kanadischer Ölstein beide Steintypen wurden wohl “gleichzeitig” verkauft. Während in alten Katalogen der Kanadische Ölstein immer wieder auch als “ERSATZ” für den Hindostan Stein angepriesen wird und umgekehrt auch.
EN: Pierres Hindostan ou Canada = Hindostan + Canadian Oilstone both types have been sold “at the same time”. In older catalogues we often find Hindostan Stones as a substitute for Canadian Oilstones and vice versa.
DE: Pierre de Saxe = Sächsischer Ölstein, vermutlich wurden die Steine zu diesem Zeitpunkt von den bekannten Brüchen in Thüringen bezogen. Sächsische Ölsteine wurden auch unter dem deutschen Pseudonym als “Forellen” verkauft. Die Steine sind ähnlich hart und fein wie Arkansas Steine (Hart Arkansas / Translucent Arkansas)
DE: Italiennes blanches et jaunes = Italienische weisse und gelbe Steine
Für mich ist es das Erste mal das ich in den alten Katalogen Rasiermesser Abziehsteine aus Italien sehe. Nein wir reden nicht von Sensenwetzsteinen wie z.B. Mailänder Steine sondern hier sind explizit Abziehsteine für Rasiermesser gemeint. Möglicherweise eine Spur zu den oft in Frankreich aufgefundenen Pierre du Sud Ouest (PDSO). Diese Steine sind Thüringer Abziehsteinen sehr ähnlich und haben ein Senf ähnliches dunkles gelb.
EN: Italiennes blanches et jaunes = Italian white and yellow stones
For me it is the first time i’ve seen Italian Razor hones in one of the olf catalogues. We are not talking about scythe stones like f.ex. Mailand Stones. Those are explicetely called Razor Hones. Possibly this might be a trace to those often found stones in france called Pierre Du Sud Ouest (PDSO). Those stones compare well to thuringian water hones, but they show a mustard like dark yellow.
Seite 1 –
Seite 2 – Carbosaxum Steine
Carbosaxum Banksteine im Pappkarton
Carbosaxum Feilen, unbearbeitet
Seite 3 – India Ölsteine
India Ölsteine Erläuterungen
India Banksteine in Pappkartons
India Kombinationssteine in Pappkartons
India Hohlmeißel Steine
India Dreikant Feilen
India Vierkant Feilen
India Rund Feilen
Seite 4 – Arkansas Ölsteine
Foto Sägen der Arkansas Steine
Foto Bearbeiten der fertigen Steine
Hart Arkansas Banksteine
Hart Arkansas Dünnschnitt
Density: xxgr./cm³ / Estimated grit size: ultra fine > 15k
Usage: with water, oil or glycerin (FGBC says to use the stone with oil)
Color: gray-blue slate with metallic sparkle look
About this specific Stone:
A very nice example of a Special Stone only for Good Razors marque (F.G.B.C.). This one owns no Stamping in fine, very fine, extra fine but it shows one of the later appearing (MF) Manufrance – Saint Etienne stickers and a Special Stone marque F.G.B.C. lable.
Also visible are finer grained saw marks, the older stones show coarser cutting marks. The newer ones show finer grained saw marks.
Short Rating of the Stone:
Hardness Level (x/10)
Speed Level (9/10)
Polishing Level (8/10)
Difficulty Level: medium-hard
Short Rating of the Shave:
AS Burn (8/10)
Don’t take this rating too serious ! Its based on my individual findings and experiences and cant be transferred 1:1 to your own findings, especially when we talk about natural stones. Besides this every shave depends on technique, the used razor and its steel and the personal feeling on the skin. More details on my short ratings here:
General Information on the fine “French Razor Hones” from F.G.B.C.:
The information written here is in general about the “French Special Stones”. Named here “Pierre La Lune” or the “Special Stone only for Good Razors”.
Both types of stones have been sold from F.G.B.C. and the “Special Stone for Good razors” was also exclusively sold from Manufrance (MF) as beeing a well known french catalogue company in the past. The company was established in Villebouef, Saint Etienne, on the 10th November 1885.
Up to date the origin of the stones and in detail the place where the stones were quarried is not known. Actually there are some traces leading towards the french region down the Vosges (Steige) where a red schist type has its origin called Schist de Steige or “Lie de Vin Rouge”. It has some good properties which might help the stone to be usable as a sharpening stone (SiO2 59,3%, Al2O3 22%, FE2O3 7,3%). Other places could be well some of the Quarries (Merviller-Vacqueville, Pexonne, Badonviller) named in the letterheads or advertisement of F.G.B.C..
Up to May 2014 the Company with the shortcut F.G.B.C. selling the La Lune Stones was unknown, until a member of the french “coupe choux” forum
Coupechouxclub named “FERDI” found an old pricetable from F.G.B.C. from 1974.
F.G.B.C. stands for the company “F. Ghelfi Birolleau & Cie.” selling sharpening stones and building up Grinding stones. They sold different kinds of stones like “Pierre Du Levant”, “Pierre Arkansas” and Grinding Hones like “Grés Blanc, Gris & Rouge”. They had men made stones like the “New Master Stone” in their catalogue which is a SIC (Siliciumcarbide) Stone or a “Brocken Selected La Lune Extra Fin” which seems to be a double sided sharpening stone.
The Company F. Ghelfi & Cie., Maisons Birolleau & F. Ghelfi & Cie. Réunies, used different adresses during their appearance: 7 Rue Charlot, Paris (1916), 17 Rue de Saintonge, Paris (1922), 47 Rue de Saintonge, Paris (1925). Also it seems that there existed a former company named “D. Giovannacci & L. Ghelfi”, 84, Faubourg St. Antoine, Paris (1893) and “Bardotti, Ghelfi & Cie.”, 106 Rue de Fanbourg, Saint-Antoine (1889). The newer company name “F. Ghelfi Birolleau & Cie” was also down the 47 Rue de Saintonge, Paris (1974), so it seems that the company stayed there from 1925-1974 concerning the documents. The years in brackets are taken out of existent documents like invoices or letters.
On some of the older Lorraine stones there is also a shortcut given named M.P.O.P. which was the addition to the predecessors company or probably a parallel runned company from “D. Giovannici, L. & B. Ghelfi”. M.P.O.P. stands for “Meules, Pierres, Outillage, Produits”.
About this stone:
This is one of the bigger examples and a very clean one, sometimes small black lines or holes appear in the stones. This one has none of the named inclusions. It seems that this one is also one of the older stones due the usage of the label.
Often there is a discussion how the stones are used the best way, some mention to use them only with water, some say oil or glycerine. Concerning the facts: the stones were mentioned to use with oil, this information is given on the Bulletin de Garantie which was delivered with the stones from F.G.B.C.
1. red/purple or blue/green/blackish slate, dense and very hard
2. metallic or sparkle surface which reflects in the light, smal reflecting particles
3. fast cutting abilities due it is a very fine finishing stone
4. stamped “fine”, “very fine”, “extra fine”
5. usable with oil, water and glycerin
6. there were stones appearing as “Pierre de L’est” with the same look
The best usage seems to be with glycerin, which was mentioned in different ways from different members. A special thanks here to Ekretz, Bayamonate and Sharpchef which helped me out to get more into using the stones the best way.
It seems that after the last finishing routine with a high rated grit stone (10K, 12K, Thuringian) the latest 50 laps should be done with the weight of the razor.
My Videos from the Razorlovestones project:
More from wetshaving boards here:
1. F.G.B.C. = Ferdinand(o) Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie.
2. Historical approach and Italian roots
3. Old Pictures from the store F. Ghelfi & Cie. at 7, Rue de Charlot
4. The Trademarks from F.G.B.C.
5. The Quarries from F.G.B.C.
6. Steige, possibly origin of the fine red razor hones ?
7. Products and services from F.G.B.C.
8. Razor Hones “Pierre aiguiser LA LUNE”
9. Classification of the “LA LUNE” and “Special Stones”
10. La Lune and Special Stones from other suppliers?
11. A promise on quality!
The warranty card, or the “Bulletin de Garantie”
12. Combo Stones “Combinaison Stone” AD12 / AD20
13. Scythe Stones “Pierre a faux” made of Pierre Natural de Saurat
14. Arkansas Stones
15. other Stones made by F.G.B.C.
16. The F.G.B.C. “Prix Courant” / Price List from 1974
17. Unknown Products
18. F.G.B.C. on the bigger trade fairs?
19. F.G.B.C. and Manufrance
20. Collection and how to identify french stones
1. F.G.B.C. = Ferdinand(o) Ghelfi Birolleau & Cie.
2. Geschichtliche Ansätze und italienische Wurzeln
3. alte Bilder des Ladens F. Ghelfi & Cie. in der 7, Rue de Charlot
4. Die Handelsmarken von F.G.B.C.
5. Die Brüche von F.G.B.C.
6. Steige, möglicherweise die Herkunft der roten feinen Steine ?
7. Produkte und Dienstleistungen von F. Ghelfi Birolleau & Cie.
8. Rasiermesser Abziehsteine “LA LUNE” und
“Special Stones only for Good Razors”
9. Klassifizierung der “LA LUNE” und
“Special Stones only for Good Razors”
10. La Lune und Special Stones anderer Hersteller ?
11. Ein Qualitätsversprechen! Die Garantiekarte bzw. das “Bulletin de Grantie”
12. Kombi Steine “Combinaison Stone”
13. Arkansas Steine
14. Andere Steine die von F.G.B.C. hergestellt wurden
15. Die F.G.B.C. Preisliste / Preis Liste von 1974
16. Unbekannte Produkte
17. FGBC auf den großen Handelsmessen ?
18. F.G.B.C. und Manufrance
EN – A new Story about F.G.B.C. (F. Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie.)
Before getting into more details of this company profile i would like to thank some very important people who helped me to create this company profile! People who seemed to be interested the same as me in the history of F.G.B.C. and also into researching and finding the origin of the fine french stones. Hours of written emails and nearly hundred pictures being sent, many questions asked, unanswered and answered. And as always, the work wouldn’t be the same without help, translation and interpretation on certain topics – so i’ll call it TEAM WORK, which makes it possible to release this profile!!
On the first step THANK YOU Alan (Mr. Wilson) for our exchange and our common interest on this project !
The second big THANK YOU goes out to Jethro (Fikira) who was interested to research more on the history of the families behind F.G.B.C., doing so he made it possible that we could puzzle more and more parts of the history of F.G.B.C. together.
And then there are a lot of people who added content in terms of pictures or scans to the company profile of F.G.B.C., so thanks to Jörg (Jollo74), Mike (Modine), Jean (Ferdi), Peter (Hatzicho) and Adriana G. Hollet!
It took us quite a long time now to get this all together. But finally i think we’ve finished and delivered! My announcement adding “Company Profiles” to Razorlovestones.com is nearly a half year back.
Goal was to add interesting Company Profiles of producers of abrasives or Profiles of producers and sellers of sharpening stones and fill those with a lot more information of pictures and historical information. And not only that! I would like to get those profiles interesting and try to catch the reader’s attention, hopefully we can also reach this goal in the future!
As the No. 1 project i was interested to start a profile about the company who brought the “fine french razor hones” named “Pierre La Lune” and “Special Stone only for Good Razors” into the market. Talking about F.G.B.C (F. Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie.) we talk about a lot of History, a lot of changes during nearly 160 years and a lot of people with different families involved. A profile also about Families which were named Giovannacci, Ghelfi, Bardotti, Birolleau and Belle.
So did we find the origin of the “fine french razor hones” ?
Actually we really gathered a lot of information about their old stores, their products, their families and their changes during the existence of F.G.B.C. and their predecessors companies. We found information’s were stones have been cut, where they had their storage locations and a lot more. But up to date we found neither valid information nor a trace where their old quarries were located in detail. We are sure that this is the only and most complete profile on FGBC which will ever exist.
This work is based on doing a really good job researching the information’s being around. On the other hand it’s clear and we have to acknowledge that the Internet today with all its possibilities and advantages gave us the possibilities to find this huge amount of data.
We split the complete Story into three different articles, on the first step to reduce the content of pages, on the second step to divide the different chapters of the timeline of the existence of the F.G.B.C. companies.
We created the following articles:
- The article dealing with the founding and the emigration from Italy to France, and the first steps of the company (18th. – 19th. century) which had its most important time frame as it was named
D. Giovanacci & L. Ghelfi “Etablisséments Belle, 87, Rue Faubourg St. Antoine (Content written by “Razorlovestones” with huge help of Mr. Wilson)
- The article dealing with the time in France, a period where ups and downs were normal, a more optical profile with pictures of old locations and explanations on the product, the price list from FERDI, the Bulletin de Garantie and all that.
F. Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie. (F.G.B.C.), 47, Rue de Saintonge
(Content written by “Razorlovestones” with huge help of Mr. Wilson)
- The article dealing with very important information about the families behind the F.G.B.C. and its predecessors companies. A well researched and nearly complete historic and very personal profile from Fikira
Jethro has re-edited the whole text again and created separated chapters. This makes reading easier and helps to jump to specific chapters or families.
My sincere thanks go to all people joining me here, also with the approach to work together on a project where we share our interest in. Without these people, and the generated “team work” it wouldn’t be possible to release such a complex and huge profile!
Have fun reading what we collected over the last 24 months !
Sebastian (Doorsch), Jethro (Fikira) and Alan (Mr. Wilson)
This is the promotion trailer for the first company profile on Razorlovestones!
It about one of the most interesting hones and abrasives producer in France….
F. Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie. (F.G.B.C.)
its about the history of the company, the “LA LUNE” Stones,
the “SPECIAL STONES ONLY FOR GOOD RAZORS” and much much more!!!
Youll see its the most complete company profile up to date with a lot of
new information, interpretation and pictures.
…so look forward to this….the release in October 2015!
Alan (Mr. Wilson), Jethro (Fikira), Mike (Modine), Jörg (Jollo74)
Andrea G. Hollat