Using A Traditional Shaving Mug or Scuttle
Are you considering buying a traditional shaving mug or scuttle? If so, then you should have a read of this article, as it will help inform your decision. The entire purpose of using a shaving mug, is to allow you to take a shaving soap, and then using your shaving brush, whip that soap into a rich creamy lather for the best wet shave imaginable.
Some guys simply use a shaving cream straight from a tub and that is of course perfectly fine. Traditionalists in wet shaving though will always stick to a high quality shaving soap and will then either use a shaving mug or a shaving bowl to make their lather. The choice for them is of course, do they use a shaving bowl, or a mug. Few people have heard of a scuttle so I have included that here as well. Have a look at the three images below so as you can clearly see the differences.
|Traditional Shaving Mug||Shaving Scuttle||Shaving Bowl|
Most guys will be familiar enough with the mug and the bowl but the scuttle will be new to many people. The bowls are a much more contemporary and more convenient type of product to use and preferred by younger males. We shall have a look at the scuttle later but for now let’s just focus on the mugs.
Why Are Mugs Used for Shaving?
I always find it really interesting to understand why certain practices started and why they have carried on. The use of a mug for shaving is when you think about it quite a strange thing. After all a mug is designed for drinking tea or coffee and certainly was not designed for whipping up a shaving lather.
My initial thoughts were that these were a habit that developed during the First World War. Soldiers trying to shave in the trenches could hardly carry around a shaving mug and they simply used what they had. Alas, my wonderful thoughts were indeed completely wrong. Although many soldiers adopted this practise from necessity, shaving mugs were first used in the latter part of the 19th Century. According to Wikipedia the first patent was developed in 1867.
The real purpose of either a mug or a scuttle was actually all about heat and having hot water. Today we take it for granted that we simply turn on the hot water tap, and we are provided with gallons of piping hot water. In the late 19th Century that was simply not the case, so some utensil had to be created that would hold hot water and also keep it warm.
You will notice that the scuttle actually looks like a teapot of sorts though my own view is it looks more like a toilet. Personally that is why I don’t use one as although it is a very traditional product, I just don’t like its appearance. Now many men do and of course that is all down to personal choice. The mug is pretty similar in intention, but of course it does not have a spout.
How To Use A Shaving Scuttle?
Here is a short video on how to use a shaving scuttle which is an interesting watch.
As you can see from the video, there are plenty of choices available in terms of styles, and slightly different shapes. Using one is an interesting thing to attempt especially if you have never done it before. A good friend of mine who is a barber still goes through this process today, and although it takes some time, it is still fascinating to watch.
Step By Step Guide To Using A Scuttle
Put the kettle on to get really hot water
Run some hot water from the tap into the sink and place the scuttle into the water with the shaving soap in the large container of the scuttle. The purpose of this is to heat up the scuttle itself, as this single action will allow you to create a nice thick creamy lather.
Once your kettle has boiled, then pour the water from that into the spout and fill the scuttle up to the brim of the spout.
You can now do something else for around 10-12 minutes to allow the scuttle to do its work. Ideally this is just about the right length of time to have a shower.
You can now remove the razor and the brush. Squeeze the excess water from the brush and now use the brush to rub against the soap and begin to create a really warm lather, ideal for shaving.
If you watched the video, then you will have noticed that this does make a really good shaving lather and one that you can be proud of. I would do this myself but the appearance of the scuttle just puts me off using it. For those that do like the appearance of this then the Progress Vulfix 404 Badger/bristle shaving brush & shaving mug seems to be the most popular choice.
Sticking With The Shaving Mug
The mug really is traditional enough for me and I do like the look of it much better. These mugs come in different styles and the main difference is simply in the size of the mug, and also the handle type. Some of them have a normal mug type of handle, whereas others have a round ball or knob for gripping better. Again I think this is personal choice for the guy. Here is a video of a guy showing you how to use a bulldog mug.
The principles of using the mug are the same. I prefer to also place the mug in hot water along with the soap to allow the mug to heat up and also the shaving soap inside. It just makes it a great deal easier to whip up your shaving lather.
Interesting Video of Some Antique Shaving Mugs
There are some pretty amazing antique shaving mugs in this video and I am sure many of them are worth a great deal of money.
Isn’t this just an amazing collection? The American silver mugs look fantastic and the character mugs are intriguing. I have actually seen one of the three face mugs myself though I don’t particularly like it.
Today the only ones available for sale are a bit more traditional and the only place you will find an antique one is by searching through old antique shops or car boot sales.
Modern Day Shaving Mugs
The brands associated with shaving mugs to day are Muhle and Progress Vulfix. They typically come in porcelain and pottery depending on your preference. There are other manufacturers like the Shaving Factory, Edwin Jagger, Marvy, Kent and Truefit & Hill.
Muhle Black Porcelain Shaving MugOver the years I have used quite a few of these. This one from Muhle remains my favourite. This company makes very high quality products and I love the design. It is also really simple to clean and it always looks good as well. The small logo also helps to make it really stand out and I think adds a touch of class to the mug.
It just happens to get 100% 5-star ratings from buyers at Amazon and I would be in that review category as well. They are a German company and consistently deliver high quality shaving products. They have maintained the traditional Victorian style of a shaving mug yet it still has a modern look to it as well.
It measures 3″ high, with a base size of about 3.5″ in diameter and at the top a diameter of about 4″. It is a nice weight and feels great in your hand. At the bottom of the mug there are 3 raised nudges that help aerate the soap which in turn helps produce a richer lather.