I’ve mentioned the Christy razor in the past, as well as other razors that built on the same idea or used Christy blades. As mentioned, the blades at least were for sale until the early thirties. What I found today shows that razors themselves were offered until at least 1927, competing for the low end of the market.
See – the ad urges – how an unprotected blade wrinkles the skin. Marvel – it beseech – how the massage bar1 smoothens the skin! Just like the barber does!!
Was skin stretching unheard of in the 1920s? Were shavers unaware that stretching the skin helps give a smooth shave? Or were the Christy company fighting tooth and nail to stay in the game, playing the razor and blade strategy2? A strategy that came more into play after the original Gillette patent had expired in 1921 and cheaper double edged razors started to appear on the market.
I am a little dubious of the claim that millions of razors were sold in the preceding year. It is not unthinkable that a large slice of those were promotional freebies, snatched up for the cost of ten blades. In other words; sixty-nine US cents – or 10.30$ in 2020. At that price point, you could make the argument that the new Christy razor could fill a similar niche as disposables do today. Buy the kit, work your way through the pack of blades, then get rid of the whole thing.
That said; it’s nice to see that Christy and his razors went down swinging to keep their share of the market.
1) As patented in 1924, US patent 1,502,615 (Skin smoothing and stretching device for safety razors)
2) “Razor and blade”, a business strategy of creating a market by selling cheap (or giving a way) a product. You can then recoup the cost by selling a related product, preferable a consumable. The classic example is – as the name suggest – a free razor which you then have to buy blades for.