John Joice’s automatic razor

Laziness is the mother of inventions. At least, it seems to have been an important reason why John K Joice filed a patent for an automatic razor in 1906. It was made specifically so that people with no skill could shave. To qoute:

The object of my invention is to provide a razor which may be used without special skill on the part of the person who is shaving himself, in other words, a razor of the safety type.

From US patent 899,870

Perhaps I am a little hard with Mr Joice. Any safety razor can be described as letting people with no skill shave. And while novel when patented, being a safety razor is not the outstanding part of his invention.

Continue reading

Abraham Zilbersher and the safety razor for worn down blades

King Gillette originally considered his blades to be reusable. You could ship them back to his company and get a new blade for every two you sent in. Devices for reconditioning the edge at home also cropped up early, and kept popping up again and again.1 But with all that honing and sharpening, the blades would wear. The edge would creep slowly but surely closer to the middle of the blade. This would, naturally, change the geometry of the head – likely resulting in suboptimal shaves. Enter left; Abraham Zilbersher and his safety razor for worn down blades.

I can see nothing stopping a shaver from using Mr Zilbersher’s razor with new blades. It does look like a nice razor, and one that would give you the option to use either a comb guard or what is – in essence – a safety bar.

Continue reading

Compact razor

Compact is a funny word, when you think about it. It can mean something dense, or densely packed. It can mean exerting a force on something to make it more, well, compact. Or it can be used to describe something that is a small and conveniently shaped example of its kind, such as a compact camera. I have seen it used to describe make up kits that fit in a purse. Or, in the case of Victor R Payton’s 1926 patent filing, a compact razor that fits in a pocket.

Continue reading