A while back I found this old advertisement on the ‘net, and decided to start digging a bit. After all, a razor that folds flat, fit in your pocket and carries a total of five blades sounds wonderful, right?
Covered by US patent 229844A, the Trav-a-long – or Travalong, as it’s described in Waits’ Compendium – folded into a neat rectangle measuring 1 by 2 by ¼ inces (2.5 by 5.0 by 0.6 cm).
The Travalong sold in a cardboard box or a leather pouch with a snap, and was available in either chrome satin, silver, or gold finishes – and to make things more complicated it was also sold under the name of Tru-Flex.
Based on how many pictures there is online of the Travalong, the razor must have sold reasonable well, but most probably didn’t see too much use. It is, after all, a travel razor and not a razor for every day use.
Speaking of pictures, here is a few I found online:
From a mechanical and technical point of view it is a very interesting and somewhat challenging design, relying on using the two arms that hold the razor head as flat springs to hold it securely – which means the tempering of the two arms are critical to get just right.
From a shaver’s point of view the handle shape will be a radical departure from the norm, but for the occasional use that shouldn’t be a major issue.
The patent have – obviously – lapsed, so if any aspiring machinist or CNC-operator out there want to have a go at this, it’s a free and already proven concept.