The Best Shave In Pre-History


What we said (more or less...)


Matt: Welcome to Coming Clean from Thomas Clipper, the podcast where we pull out the microscope on our small British business and see what lurks inside.


So by now, you’ve probably guessed we like our history.  And we love that our products - the products we make for you - are steeped in history.  So this week, we’re delving back in time - several millennia - to be precise, to ask: what was the Britain we now know and love like, 5,000 odd years ago?


Tony: We’re doing this, of course, to celebrate the launch of one of our latest products: the Neolithic Shave Set.  This our latest bowl and brush, but made from between 5,000 and 7,000 year old fossilised bog oak from Leicestershire.  Of course, with our fantastic handmade shaving soap from Norfolk.  And in case you’re wondering, fossilised bog oak comes from trees which have been saved from decaying in peat bogs, thanks to the acidity and lack of oxygen in the bogs - this process usually takes hundreds or thousands of year.  It provides incredible links back to our past.  With its dark finish, we think it looks tremendous.  But anyway, back to our ancestors - since it’s Christmas time, Matt, how would the have celebrated?


Matt: I think you’re a getting a little mixed up there Tony.  Because of course, we are now into the depths of prehistory and of course pre-Christ.  The age spans are quite mindboggling.  Essentially, it’s a about a million years ago since the earliest known humans came to what we now consider England, but only 12,000 or so years since humans began to settle here.  One million years ago.  Just think about it.  50,000 times the distance between now and the 0AD. So we’re firmly in the prehistory period now, which is commonly divided by historians into the stone, bronze and iron ages.  And, though we’re talking about our shave set today, it’s worth remembering that historians think the first ever razors - dated to around 18,000 BC - emerged in the stone age.  They almost certainly doubled up as tools; which is efficient.


Tony: Nice, and so our Neolithic Shave Set is also from a particular subset of the Stone Age; known as the the Neolithic, or new stone age.  And really, quite important changes in human history are starting at this time.  In the early stone age, or paleolithic or mesolithic eras, humans were effectively hunter gatherers.  We’re talking post ice age - so things are rapidly becoming more hospitable - and around 10,000 to 4000 BC; this is the time when the ice sheets melted which previously linked the British isles to Europe and led to Britain become an Island. And in this period, it was a pretty tough life, consisting of hunting animals and harvesting plants for food.


Matt: Nasty brutish and short indeed, but it’s in our Neolithic period when we get an extraordinary development with the advent of farming; crop growing, domesticated animals and, most importantly, the development of communities.  So somewhere like Windmill Hill, in Wiltshire is a neolitihic example of what’s called a causewayed enclosure.  These were sites where our prehistoric brothers and sisters developed temporary accommodations as respite from the incessant travelling.


Tony: we were really excited when we heard of the age of the wood because it means that your new Neolithic Shave Set effectively starts from the very first dates of settled community human living.  And, as a brand that as you know cares massively about our community, and our community helps to drive what, why and how we make things, we think that’s pretty cool.


Matt: so when you do get your 5,000 year old fossilised bog oak shaving set, remember this pre-dates santa.  It pre-dates the egyptian mummies.  It marks the cusp of human civilisation.  We like taking time over the things that matter, and your new shaving set has certainly been a long time in the making!


Tony: quite, quite right.  So, please get on to to find out more; the set starts at £199 or you can have the special pewter edition for £299.  It’s only available in limited quantities but, as special friends of Thomas Clipper, you can pre-order today and it will ship in the New Year.


Matt: and since we’ve mentioned Christmas a few times, it’s not too late to get that special person in your life an historic present from our razor, heritage shaving sets and tuscan wash bag range.  Final dates for delivery are around a week away from today, but you can get all the details again on


Tony: Nicely put.  But until then, I’ve been Tony.


Matt: And I’ve been Matt.


Tony: And this has been Coming Clean, from Thomas Clipper.