Bismarck razor – another museum wedge razor

Still poking around on digitalmuseum.no1 I found a much less workmanlike wedge razor than the previous one that I shared with you. Named the Bismarck razor, after the German statesman, the razor is mentioned in Waits’ Compendium.

Bismarck razor - photo by Fredrik Oftebro (Norsk Teknisk Museum)
Bismarck razor – photo by Fredrik Oftebro (Norsk Teknisk Museum)

It is described by Waits as having a wedge blade, a box like lather catching head, and a two piece handle. Armed with this description, it is obvious that the Bismarck razor in NTM’s collection is incomplete – half the handle is missing.

Of particular interest is the raised dot pattern on the handle, and the roller guard. Roller guards are uncommon, but far from unheard of. It has been done both before and after the Bismarck razor. Also note that half the head tilts back for easy cleaning. You can see the hinge point in the upper right corner of the head.

While I haven’t unearthed a patent for this razor, it is worth noting that no utility patent claim is visible on the razor. What is marked on the razor is “DRGM No. 270921”2 – in other words a sort of copyright claim or design patent.3 It is quite possible that the people behind the Bismarck realized that there was little new or improved on their design.

Waits mentions that the trademark appears on a list from 1922. Almost two decades after thin replaceable blades was invented, the Bismarck razor was a rather old fashioned shaver. Even so, it was a good looking anachronism.


  1. A common digital platform for a lot of Norwegian museums
  2. DRGM is an abbreviation for Deutsches Reichs Gebrauchmuster – German Empire utility model
  3. But not quite – I’m a bit fuzzy on the practical difference is

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