Old style DE blades

This week I’m trying out my ‘new’ razor – the Gillette “Khaki” Old Type – and is so far quite enjoying the experience.

The blade I’m using is rather different both in alloy and in shape from what the US Doughboys would have tucked away in their dopp bag as they were deposited into the maelstrom of mud and horrors that were the trenches of the great war…

The alloy was mild carbon steel, and there was three more-or-less circular holes. The old school blades were also thicker than the blades used now, which probably to some extent affects the perceived aggressiveness of old razors by dint of altering the blade angle slightly.

Today’s blades are commonly made out of stainless steel, and have a single elongated hole shaped to fill all DE razors (not just the three piece razors).

An old soldier go back to war

Introducing my latest razor; a Gillette Khaki Set from WW1 – aka the Great War, the War to End All Wars (that sentiment didn’t pan out). Thanks to a fellow from my favourite shave forum, this 96 year old soldier will once again return to active duty – although this time it will hopefully just be for various exercises and when I’m on the Go, and not the muds of Flanders.

The serial number under the guard is a crisp J4173, which according to my source places it as an reasonable early production military razor, manufactured in 1918. Another source claims that the single button closure is a rare variant; perhaps experience proved that a two button closure was more stable.

There is a minor crack in the handle – but from what I can tell online that is both common, repairable and not influencing the shave with these old, classic Gilletter. The mirror has gone AWOL at some point in the life of this old soldier, but my GoBag already have a small, unbreakable mirror in it so I’ll manage (unless someone has a spare khaki-set mirror they need to get rid off…). The blade holder should fit one or two modern blades on the diagonal, so I’m set in that regards provided I remember to refill. The fabric and seams are in surprisingly good condition considering the age of this set – the only thing worn is the print on the inside of the flap.

I’ve yet to shave with this baby, but when I do I’ll be sure to share my impressions.

1933 oscillating razor

Especially designed for those with tender skins and tough beards, a new safety razor employs an oscillating blade to cut the hairs. While the razor is drawn across the face, a pair of friction rollers revolve and cause the whole blade to move sideward with a reciprocating motion, as indicated by arrows in the photograph at left. As a result, this miniature mowing machine is declared to give an unusually close shave with a minimum of chafing and discomfort. The one piece razor may be operated and cleaned with one hand.

Friction rollers? In other words, they put something in the razor that requires you to increase the pressure you put on the skin… which is kinda stupid, seeing as how one of the key to a great shave is to use minimal pressure. I can see why this brilliant idea didn’t take off quite as much as the inventors surely hoped for…