Civilian Conservation Corps ax shaving demonstration, 1933.
Believe it or not, there is photographic evidence of men, some who were lumberjacks or loggers, who shaved their own faces, and the faces of others, with an ax.
There were a couple of notable manly men who were known for performing the feat in front of crowds such as Paul Criss whose moniker was the “spectacular axe-man” and Oregon lumberjack Leonard Wallulis. Criss was also a popular pitchman for the Kelly Axe Company. One of the axes in the company’s product line was called the “Perfect Axe” and it would be this weapon of choice that Criss would use to demonstrate the tool’s ability to be used to shave a man’s face. Wallulis, on the other hand, was noted to have entered a Ripley’s Believe It or Not contest in Portland, Oregon in 1936 where he shaved with a double-bitted ax—a daring trick that got him to the finals.
If you frequent reddit, you may have seen an image of either Criss or Wallulis shaving dangerously. In once instance, I saw that someone had noted that Criss was some sort of traveling ax salesman. Which promptly got him torn to shreds by folks saying that there is/was no such thing as a traveling ax salesman. But here’s the thing about that—ax salesmen were real and businesses such as Oakland, Maine’s Emerson & Stevens employed salespeople who schlepped around axes, hatchets, and scythes to hardware stores and tool shops. So now that I’ve cleared that bit up, take a look at the images below of guys who make shaving with an ax look like a normal part of their day.
Paul Criss the “spectacular axe-man” giving an ax shaving demonstration with a Perfect Axe made by Kelly Axe Manufacturing Company.
Leonard Wallulis shaving with an ax.
Paul Criss attending The American Forestry Association gathering in October 1934 using a Kelly Perfect Axe to shave a man.
Another shot of Paul Criss giving someone a shave in the wild. Because real men shave with axes in the woods.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Razor’s Edge: 1970s underground fetish zine about bald women and shaving
Karl Marx’s beard
Brothers Johnny Mullet and Lester Mullet arrested over Amish beard attacks