While the anthrax scare and fear of germs gave rise to several disposable shaving brushes and lathering devices, the scary germs and bacteria could also be found on the soap and in the cup. While soap could be contained in the brush, or made in shave sized pieces, the cup was an issue. A barber could either opt for individual cups for his regular customers, or use a disposable shaving cup.
Enter stage left; Charles E Scott. A citizen of the United States, residing at Yonkers, in the county of Westchester and State of New York, he filed the patent for a disposable shaving cup in 1912. Described – as so often -as an improvement on the current state of affairs, the patent was granted in 1914.
Giving the customers the knowledge that a fresh, clean cup is used for every shave, the disposable shaving cup was intended to be made of a sanitary and inexpensive material. In short, it was a paper cup. With a tiny puck of soap in the bottom. In all fairness, it was intended to be used as an insert in a metal cup. The metal would give rigidity and retain heat in a way paper just couldn’t.
In carrying out my invention, I employ a cup of paper or similar material, comprising a tapering cylindrical body, a bottom having a depressed center and flanged edge, the bottom received in the smaller end of the body and secured thereto at its flange. The depressed center contains a small quantity of shaving soap in a comminuted1 form, which is covered and so held in place by a piece of tissue paper, pasted at its edge to the upper surface of the bottom. This cup of paper, or similar material, is adapted to be received in a metal cup, having a handle to be grasped by and held in the hand, and which cup is similar to those employed for holding soda water glasses.From the patent text of US patent 1123211
In order to use the invention, the barber would place the cup in it’s holder, wet the shaving brush, and get to work. The thin tissue paper would be torn quickly, and the soap should quickly turn into lather. Once lathering up, the barber would proceed as normal. And at the end of the shave, the disposable shaving cup could be thrown in the trash.
Final thoughts on the disposable shaving cup
I can see no reason why the invention wouldn’t work. That is, from a technical point of view. The barber would be locked into a single supplier of cups and comminuted soap, which may have been an issue for some. And there was still the issue of germs on the brush… although other inventors had solutions for that.
- Comminuted; reduced to minute particles or fragments. In layman’s term; shaving soap in powder form.