Shaving Brush Buyer’s Guide: Rooney

A Semi-Custom Rooney Shave Brush

Welcome to the next installment of my shaving brush buyer’s guide (I have previously covered Vulfix, Simpsons, and Truefitt and Hill).  This post looks at the Rooney line of shaving brushes.  At the end of the series–just in time for the holiday gift-giving season–I’ll update the entire list and create a large, sortable table and also make the data available in a “CSV file” for importing into your favorite spreadsheet or database program.

Rooney

R.A. Rooney & Sons, AKA “City of London Brushworks,” seems to be a rather secretive, enigmatic manufacturer.  They avoid direct contact with customers and don’t have a proper website. According to the information I could find they may go back as far as 1796, though a fire in 1886 destroyed their records.  They have a reputation as an “old school” manufacturer, but then they come out with a brush like this:

Rooney Shave Brush (Photo Courtesy Bruce Everiss)

Like I said, enigmatic.  What is your experience with Rooney shave brushes?

On the table below I’ve listed the major specifications for the brushes currently being manufctured.  “Model” refers to the model number of the brush.  “Loft,” “Knot,” and “Handle” refer to the the dimensions, in millimeters, for the height of the hair, the diameter of the hair at the base, and the height of the brush’s handle, respectively.  “Hair” indicates what kind of hair is used, along with a “Grade” (if any).  The “Shape” of the hair refers to whether it is a fan-like shape or a bulb-like shape.  Finally, price refers to the Manufacturer’s list price in US dollars.  Although I have excersized care in researching these statistics I cannot guarantee they are exact.

 

mantic59 mantic59 (539 Posts)

also known as "Mantic59." Shave tutor and sharpologist.


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Comments

  1. I’m a little late to this party but I want to play. I have two brushes that were made by Rooney for D.R. Harris in London. Harris calls them the H Series but they are the Rooney Style 1. Both are in best badger in style/size 1/1 and 1/2. Two of the best brushes I own. And I agree with Mantic59, trying to get information about Rooney from anyone is like pulling teeth.

  2. Jim Pirretti says:

    I have a T&H Silvertip Badger Style 1 brush which I understand was made by Rooney. It is one of the best performing brushes I own. I have hinted to my wife that a larger brush is what I need for Christmas.

  3. I first got a Rooney when I realized that the brush as seldom mentioned in the forums I was reading (Vulfix and Simpson dominated the discussion), and in particular I had never read of a problem with a Rooney. I got a Style 3, Size 3 (large: way big) and loved it. As I moved more to face lathering, I got a Style 3, Size 2, and finally settled on Size 1 as best for the face latherer.

    I got a Style 2 in Super Silvertip (Style 2 comes only in Size 1), and also Style 1 and Style 3 in Super Silvertip Size 1. The more I used the Style 2, the more I liked it, and I finally went for the Style 2 Finest ($225 at the time, compared to $76 for the Super Silvertip). The Finest is indeed a marvellous brush: soft tips, quite resilient bristles, not too dense. (I tried the Rooney Emilion Heritage, but the knot was so stiff and dense I could not get it to hold much lather or release what it had.)

    Great brushes on the whole. And I really like the faux-ivory handles with the simulated grain.

  4. RSpellecy says:

    I have a Rooney Style 2 in genuine silvertip. It was the first “nice”brush a bought after my initial crabtree and evelyn starter brush. I have never liked it really and it sits in my cabinet. Just too stiff for my tastes. Good brush, if you like them very very stiff. I bought it from Vintage Blades and as I recall, at that time Vintage Blades had different Rooneys….does anyone else recall this? Perhaps the loft on the brushes they sold were shorter than other retailers?

    • Interesting comment. The Rooney I have is one of the softest (least stiff) brushes I have!

      • RSpellecy says:

        Well, your comment convinced me to take it for another spin, with the same results. However, I looked at the handle and it is NOT genuine silvertip, it is simply “super.” This is an older style Rooney, back when the lettering was in block letters instead of script. I would describe it as a lather hog, meaning it is so dense that it will not release the lather. That said, it sounds like later models have changed up a bit. I may have to give Rooney a second look!

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