Some like their shaving brushes to have a short loft. Some like a long loft. With James P Wright’s patented adjustable shaving brush you can have both!
Why your would want to do that though is an open question. Personally I would just get two brushes, but I’m living in the wetshaving renaissance. I can get brushes in a wide range of sizes, materials, and cost ranges from across the world. In 1910 it was a little bit more difficult and a lot more costly to get a brush from the other side of the world on a whim.
Design and use of the adjustable shaving brush
The invention was – in hindsight – obvious and intuitive. Start with a regular, high lofted brush. Mount a movable collar on the ferrule. And… well, that is it, really. By sliding the collar up, the effective loft is shorter. Congratulations, you now have an adjustable shaving brush.
James P Wright suggested that it would be beneficial to have the loft short when doing the shave prep. That is, scrubbing the skin and beard. The loft could then be lengthened in time to make and apply lather.
Or as the patent text states:
Often it is found desirable to have the brush short so that the beard can be scrubbed well before shaving thereby softening the beard preparatory to shaving. My brush is so constructed that this may be easily done and by ‘the simple adjustment of a sleeve the brush may be put to the use of an ordinary shaving brush that is, to lather the face.From US patent 987,277
The ferrule would have shallow slots, that ridges pressed into the collar could ride on. The collar could then be twisted to lock it in place – a slot in the collar provided a certain amount of springiness.
Thoughts on the brush
This isn’t the first brush I’ve had a look at. I’ve looked at disposable ones. I’ve discussed flat, folding ones. Often I’ve snarked at several self-feeding ones. And I’ve covered travel brushes. But this is, I believe, the first adjustable shaving brush that I’ve had a look at so far.
If a modern brush maker – artisan or large scale manufacturer – want to recreate this brush, it should be easy to do. But I think the market would be somewhat on the small side.
You can read the full patent at Google Patents, as is normal. And if you enjoyed this, I there is a lot more of them on my blog.