Some times you need to shave on the Go. That means that sometimes you will need a safety razor in your pocket – a pocket safety razor if you like. And while a great many have been patented, Mr P A Benet’s pocket safety razor is one of the earliest I am aware of. It is a neat little Single Edge razor too, just in time for Single Edge September
Mr Benet – a citizen of the Republic of Cuba – intended his invention to be a razor that could be conveniently carried in a pocket. To this effect he made it so the handle was also the carrying case. The handle was in two parts, and at one end the shaver could mount the razor head.
The handle and mount is interesting in their own right. I am however a lot more intrigued by the razor head. It is a little more complicated than most early razors, and would probably require casting and/or machining to make. The bottom plate have integrated teeth forming the guard. It also have turned up flanges forming a dove tail joint that holds the top cap in place. On the bottom plate there is also a pair of blade stops. The top cap is a fairly simple wedge shaped plate, but has a nail notch to make it easy to remove. The blade is a simple style single edge blade, reminiscent of a Christy or a despined GEM blade. In the words of the patent:
This blade is illustrated in Fig. 5. It is formed of a very thin sheet of line steel, presenting a cutting edge 21. This blade is adapted to be applied to the guard-plate, as indicated in Fig. 1, so that the cutting edge 21 presents itself longitudinally of the guardplate and adjacent to the guard-teeth 16. The extremities of the blade rest against the nibs 19, so as to maintain the blade in proper position when the razor is in operation.From US patent 811,999
To mount the razor head to the handle, Mr Benet had a neat trick up his sleeve. Or rather, he had one up his handle.
As can be seen from the drawing, there is an arrangement at one end of the handle. It consists of a threaded cap, a stud with a threaded end, and a spring. Due to the way this is set up, if the user turn the knurled cap, the threaded end of the stud is extended or withdrawn into the handle. So to use, the shaver would extend the stud, thread on the razor head, then tighten the cap to pull the head down onto the handle. With the stub retracted, the handle would present a smooth shape unlikely to catch in the pocket lining. Neat, simple, and secure.
I can see this razor being modified for use with a GEM blade, with or without a spine. I can also see it made to take injector blades. The head geometry and design looks like it would make for an interesting little shaver. In short, if someone made a copy of Mr Bennet’s pocket safety razor today, I would not say no to one.