Everyone likes to store their razor somewhere. Some likes a cabinet on the wall. Some likes a smaller container you can’t get your blade out of. And some like to keep a sanitary case in their pocket. And it was the last group Mr Stephen Woods targeted with his 1909 patent application.
Touted as a “new and useful Improvements in Sanitary. Cases for Toilet Articles and other Uses”, the invention is reminiscent of the WW1 Service Sets and the Gillette Khaki Kit in layout. It differs in how it works though.
The heart of the invention is a case. And a bent piece of sheet metal. Using metal to keep things in place would, I assume, be more sanitary than a cloth or felt lined case. Easier to keep clean-ish, at any rate.
The cross member – the oddly shaped piece of sheet metal in figure 3 – was intended to keep the various parts of the razor in place. To quote:
The cross partition preferably comprises a double angled spring member having the central web F and the longer spring arm G and shorter spring arm H, each arm being provided with an ear or tab I and J adapted to engage the cleats K and L at the sides of the box to hold the partition in position. As shown, the partition lies transversely across the case with the central web extending longitudinally. It will be seen that the partition has a slight longitudinal adjustment and preferably the central web F is crimped at L to afford greater resiliency. The arm H is preferably bent into U-shaped form, as shown, to form a socket member for holding the handle 0 of the razor or other elongated part.From US patent 965,787
Overall, the sanitary case isn’t a bad design or idea. The little cross piece would hold the razor handle, while at the same time holding the razor head and a box of blades in place. Everything would be in bare metal, and dissemble easily for cleaning. One could compare this to the felt lined dividers of WW1 Service Set, or the little fabric straps of the WW1 Khaki Kit. Neither of the two are easy to clean once they have gotten dirty, and both can be hosts to mould and other growth.
The simple steel case and spring steel cross piece of Mr Woods’ sanitary case sounds much preferable… perhaps even more so in a muddy trench. The one downside however is that if you loose the cross piece, everything will rattle around in your kit.
The patent have expired a long time ago. And while anyone can freely make copies today, I’m not convinced it is a great idea. After all, there are a great many more and different razors on the market today. And while neat, the sanitary case is not a case of one case fits all.
You can, as usual, read the full patent at Google Patents.