Gotto’s hygiene implement

We can all agree that hygiene is important, even when we are not at home. And it was for those times that Raymond J. Gotto filed a patent for a hygiene implement in 1982. A vaguely pen-like implement that contained a tooth brush, and a razor, the device would been easy to bring along. Or buy from a vending machine, for that matter.

The form factor and overall compactness puts Mr Gotto’s invention in the same class as the pen style shavette from 1921, the compact razor from 1927, the combination writing instrument and shaver’s kit from 1936, and of course Bowlin’s shaving kit from 1947.

The patent drawings shows several different ways to implement the hygiene implement. The primary implementation takes the form of a short section with a toothbrush on one end and a razor on the other. The covers for either side works as handle extensions, making for a more comfortable grip.

To use, the user would remove of of the caps. Then the user could implement hygiene either by shaving or brushing teeth. Just had to pay attention to use the correct tool for the job – brushing beard and shaving teeth sounds less than ideal.

In the preferred version of the hygiene implement, there is room for a spare razor head (i.e.: cartridge) in between the tooth brush and razor.

In addition to the pen like1 arrangement preferred, there are a few other variations of the implement shown. One uses a threaded fitting to connect the two parts of the invention, but is otherwise much like the preferred implementation. Another uses an open ended tube, letting the user slide out either the toothbrush or razor as required.2 A pair of covers could be added to keep the ends closed. And the last is a folding-knife type of implementation3 of the implement. This last version would have been sold in a match-box like outer sleeve, not shown in the drawing.

The razor could be used, according to the patent text, either as a regular hoe style razor,4 or as a “so-called ‘cut-throat’ type razor”.5

In many ways Mr Grotto’s hygiene implement reminds me of the cassette sized sanitary kit I looked at some years ago. Not as much as in what it contains,6 but in that it has a very eighties vibe to it. Nothing wrong with that though, I grew up in the eighties and are occasionally nostalgic for the design language used in those days.

I can see something like this being made and sold today as a convenience item at airports, train stations, gas stations, and similar places. After all, sometimes you just want to freshen up without having to unpack your bags. As the patent points out:

This implement is very useful for persons travelling without notice and unprepared, as they can carry the necessities for shaving and cleaning their teeth in their pocket with the same ease as a ball point pen. The implement can also be used after meals in restaurants, camping, office, aircraft and car; it is hygienic, simple and the various components (blade, toothbrush, toothpaste) are easily available

From US patent 4,542,828

You can read the full text of the patent at Google Patents. If you enjoy old and odd shaving related patents, why not check out some of the others I’ve written about?


  1. With or without a clip on one end.
  2. Intended, according to the patent text, as a single use disposable implement.
  3. Another disposable variation, according to the patent.
  4. With the edge at a right angle to the handle, that is.
  5. Yes, that is a direct quote from the patent text…
  6. The cassette can fit a lot more stuff than a pen sized implement after all

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