The Man With the Hoe – Shaving

As I’ve mentioned before Gillette wasn’t the only one trying to invent and patent a perfected safety razor around the turn of the last century. One of the main competitors was Russ Jackson Christy and his family of Christy Hoe Razors.

I’ve mentioned Christy’s razors in passing before, but here we have the real deal. Not a razor using a Christy blade, not a razor similar to a Christy Hoe, but an early advertisement for a proper Christy Hoe. And while this ad reads rather different than the one we looked at last week – due to being aimed at a different class of audience perhaps – it still have a lot of words and is rather information dense compared to advertisements of today.

Advertising For The Christy Hoe Safety Razor, from The Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Press Newspaper, March 13, 1906

I like his this ad reads much like I expect a gentleman of the era to talk. It comes across as informal, is information dense, yet don’t move into information overload.

Allegedly a delightful razor to use, the also highlights the razor’s simplicity. And with just three pieces – handle, blade, and guard – it’s hard to imagine something simpler. And while Gillette advertised a year or so later than blades were inexpensive enough to be thrown away like an old pen nib, one of Christy’s selling points were that the blades were thick enough to strop and would last for months. This alone suggest that the marked for Christy wasn’t the rich, but the frugal.

For as little as 1.50$ – or about 44 US dollars today – you not only got the razor, but also half a dozen blades. Not bad for a frugal man, since that could potentially translate into three years of shaves at a mere fifty cents a year.

If I’m to judge by the drawing and the date, my guess is that the razor being demonstrated in the Men’s Furnishing Department was based of Russ Jackson Christy’s patent US 788,820. For those that are curious, the patent can be viewed either at Google Patent Search or over at (easier to read, and interactive).

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