Founded in 1896 by Emil Hermes, the company was intended to be named Hermes after the Greek god, but since there was already another cutlery company by that name, it was then named Merkur. As the Roman equivalent of Hermes, Merkur represents the Roman god Mercury.
The Early Models
The first razors for wet shaving already featured a safety comb, in which you clipped a removable, wedge-shaped blade. Shortened to 4cm, it was similar in form to a classic straight razor blade, however it needed to be regularly sharpened.
At the beginning of 20th century, production began on very sharp, double edge razor blades like those produced today. They reduced the risk of injury and when they were blunt, they were cheaper to replace.
Introducing the slant razor—it was a 2pc razor with the scalloped bar in a 4inch heavy textured chrome/gold handle. It was mainly invented to reduce the growth of hairs as it would get a close shave with minimal irritation. The bottom of the razor handle has the symbol of the Roman god Mercury.
Over the years, Merkur patented several of its models. During 1958, Merkur acquired the patents for the double edge safety razors, and it was then stamped with "Made in Solingen" and "Germany." The razors were available in different forms of paper packaging as well as in box. During this time, the 0.1mm blades were also introduced.
Design and Branding
As a very classic product, the razor's design, packaging and branding still reflects the tastes of the past. The Merkur classic series is a 3pc razor with a 4inch long handle designed in an open comb, chrome-plated brass for a better grip and extra control.
Merkur has also introduced various forms of packaging, all of which presented their signature logo (the Roman equivalent of Hermes), thereby invariably reflecting a traditional and classic design.
The Economic Miracle Years
Following the death of his father Hans Hermes in 1957, Dietrich Hermes heads the business during the years of the "economic miracle," together with his uncle Eric Hermes. After his death in 1970s, Dietrich sells the company Merkur Stahlwaren.
In the anniversary issue of the publication Messer and Schere from 1929, Dovo and Merkur already happened to appear together. Merkur's biggest client, Dovo, acquires the company in 1996. The traditional production of double edge blade razors carrying the brand name Merkur continues under the same roof as the equally traditional production of straight razors from Dovo.