“Lather catcher” disposable safety razor

In 1954 Allen Phillip Algier and Ford M Radenbaugh filed a patent for a disposable safety razor. And while the patent wasn’t granted until 1957, it is an interesting little razor that gives the term “lather catcher” a new face. It was meant to be complete with either soap or cream carried in the razor itself.

It is not the first patent for a disposable safety razor with soap or cream I’ve posted about. See, for instance, the inventions of Mr Lyon, Mr Brown, Mr Perez, Mr Jacobson, and Mr Howe.

Algier and Radenbaugh came up with a single edge razor, with the blade secured in the moulded plastic handle. Flexible, heat-sealable thermoplastics were a reasonable new thing in 1954. As far as I can tell, polyethylene1 only entered large scale production during WW2.2 Interestingly enough the blade was protected by a tear-away strip. In a modern disposable safety razor, the blade is commonly protected by a second, separate piece of plastic.

The patent also called for the inclusion of either a soap-impregnated wad or shaving cream. While this is unlikely to have been the finest artisan lathering agent, it’s at least better than most disposable safety razors you can buy today.

Patent drawing for US patent 2,789,346 - a disposable safety razor with room to catch lather.
Patent drawing for US 2,789,346

Claims

The patent makes a number of claims for the invention. A claim is – as far as I understand it – a description of what the patent actually covers. In other words, what is novel and non-intuitive about the invention. Often there are several claims, each one different slightly in order to cover various aspects of the invention.

A disposable razor, comprising: a one-piece molded plastic holder having a body having a razor head integral with the body at the upper end thereof, said head being provided with an upper curved surface and guard lugs depending from the head, said body and head being of equal Width, said body being provided with a shallow receptacle directly beneath said head and of a width substantially equal to the width of the head; and a razor blade embedded in said head and having a cutting edge projecting therefrom at the intersection of said curved surface and said guard lugs, said head having a thin strip molded integrally therewith and overlying said projecting cutting end of said blade, said strip being peelable from said head to expose said cutting edge.

First claim from US patent 2,789,346

The first claim covers the shape and construction of the disposable razor. Simple and straight forward.

A disposable razor, comprising: a one-piece molded plastic holder having a body and a razor head integral with the body at the upper end thereof, said head being provided with an upper curved surface and guard lugs depending from the head, said body and head being of equal width; and a razor blade embedded in said head and having a cutting edge projecting therefrom at the intersection of said curved surface and said guard lugs, said head having a thin strip molded integrally therewith and overlying said projecting cutting end of said blade, Said strip being peelable from said head to expose said cutting edge, said holder having a plate portion, angles projecting from the vertical edge portions of said plate portion, and a bottom portion, said plate portion, flanges, bottom portion land head together defining a receptacle directly beneath said head -for receiving lather and whiskers during a shaving operation.

Second claim from US patent 2,789,346

The second claim is why I think of this razor as a lather catcher. As it says, the hollow under the blade is meant to catch lather. If it catches lather, it’s a lather catcher. Nice and simple.

A disposable razor, comprising: a one-piece molded plastic holder having a body having a razor head integral with the body at the upper end thereof, said head being provided with an upper curved surface and guard lugs depending from the head, said body and head being of equal width, said body being provided with a shallow receptacle directly beneath said head and of a width substantially equal to the width of |the head; and a razor blade embedded in said head and having a cutting edge projecting therefrom at the intersection `of said curved surface and said guard lugs, said head having a thin strip molded integrally therewith and overlying said projecting cutting end of said blade, said strip being peelable from said head to expose said cutting edge, said holder having a shallow receptacle at its lower end for containing a dispensible material, said receptacle extending throughout the width of the body.

Third claim from US patent 2,789,346

The third claim covers the fact that there is space for a soap-impregnated wad or a plastic bag of shaving cream in the handle of the disposable safety razor.

The fourth claim deals with the way the blade is inclined in relation to the handle. The fifth claim is about including a soap-impregnated wad. And finally the sixth claim covers the inclusion of a puncturable envelope containing a leathering substance.3

Thoughts on the patent

This is a patent I want to like. The peelable strip protecting the blade is a neat touch. The inclusion of soap or cream is handy. The razor is a single edge, and I like single edge razors. The shape of the handle catches the lather and whiskers, making for a neat and less messy shave. It is an open comb razor, which is rare among disposables. I can easily see a logo or advertisement embossed or printed on the back or front of the razor.

But there is a but. In this case it is the shape of the handle – wide, short and flat. It is not a favourite.

But even so I can see a razor in the same mould4 having a small marked today. Either as a disposable travel razor,5 or as a courtesy gift at a hotel or motel. It could even be a freebie to hand out as advertisers – much like the Curbo razor was used a hundred and ten years ago.

As usual the whole patent can be read at Google patents. The OCR is a bit wonky, but the PDF is nice and clean. And I still have a whole page filled with old shaving patents and oddities, if you want to read more.

Footnotes

  1. Which is the material called for in the patent.
  2. As far as I know, it was primarily used as a insulator for coaxial cables in radar sets.
  3. In other words; a plastic bag of shaving cream.
  4. I know, horrible pun we we’re talking about a moulded razor.
  5. The fact that it carries enough soap or cream for one or two shaves helps there.

1 thought on ““Lather catcher” disposable safety razor

  1. Pingback: Disposable razor suitable for injector blades - Wegian WetshavingWegian Wetshaving

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