Anton Hopfen’s improved shaving brush

Is your brush too soft? To stiff? Ever wanted a brush that could be either? If that is the case, Anton Hopfen’s improved shaving brush is what you need. Patented in 1878, it was not only capable of adjusting the loft and backbone on the fly, but also held the shaving soap.

Interestingly enough, the adjustable loft wasn’t the main point of the invention. To quote the patent text:

The nature of my invention consists in the construction of a handle for shaving-brushes, which form a receptacle for the shaving-soap or other articles, as will be hereinafter more fully set forth.

US patent 206,791

In other words the adjustable brush was more of an afterthought. A bright idea tacked on to a dim idea, seen in hindsight.

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Anestis Foltis’ folded safety razor

Disposable safety razors were patented from time to time in the past. Usually they were just a regular safety razor made from cheap or disposable materials. Sometimes they were a minor stroke of genius. Sometimes they were plain odd. Mr Foltis’ safety razor made from bent sheet metal is one of the later two.

An important object of the invention is to provide an inexpensive safety razor having an integral razor blade of small size whereby the entire razor must be disposed of after the blade becomes too dull for shaving purposes.

US patent 2,550,056
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Cathodic protection of razor

Cathodic protection is a technique used to control the corrosion of a metal surface by making it the cathode of an electrochemical cell. This can either be done by using a sacrificial anode made from sink or similar material, or by applying an external direct current.

So… what has that to do with shaving? Well… normally it don’t, but J Duggan’s 1971 patent application on behalf of Warner Lambert Co combines the two.

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1936 Micromatic advertisement – effortless shaving

No effort, no scraping, no irritation – it just melts your whiskers away.

I’m not convinced about the melting of hairs, but the Micromatic is a very nice little razor. For just a dollar you could get not only a gold plated razor, but also five of the new blades developed alongside the Micromatic. In 1936, the Micromatic was a pretty recent razor – the mechanism having been patented in 1929.

In today’s money the razor (with blades) would cost just shy of 19 US dollars. Not a bad price for a razor that assuredly has stood the test of time.