Lather applying razor

A little while back we looked at a lather spreading attachment for your razor. Unsurprisingly, bad ideas keeps coming back – although Fredrick Schallgruber referred to his 1949 invention as a lather applying razor, rather than as an attachment. And it was single, rather than double sided. And it didn’t make it harder to change blades, so that at least was an improvement.

So, what was it? To quote Fredrick:

The primary object of the invention resides in the provision of a roller applicator for applying lather to the skin surface of the face which can be quickly and easily attached to a conventional safety razor without altering or changing the construction of the safety razor.

From US patent 2,677,883

And there is another object of the invention. It is in fact eleven paragraphs starting with “Another object is to provide…”, before Fredrick mentions that:

Other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent during the course of the following description of the accompanying drawings wherein:

From UIS patent 2,677,883

The other objects mentioned includes but is not limited to:

  • Stretching the skin while shaving.
  • Able to be used before or during a shave.
  • Not interfering with the shave.1
  • Be conveniently2 attached to a razor.
  • Having a roller of sponge like material that will create lather during rotation over the skin.
  • Producing an invigorating and stimulating action.

Sounds like quite the wonderous3 invention. So why don’t we all use Fredrick’s lather applying razor for out daily shaves?

Probably because the idea is, to be honest, kind of batty. For starters, in involves a attachment plate to mount under the bottom plate4 of your regular three piece razor. There is a big roller hanging of to one side of the razor. There was a little metal finger to hold the roller in the right spot. And naturally there was a lot of “how”, and very little “why”.

Sheet one of the patent drawings for the lather applying razor
Sheet one of the patent drawings for US patent 2,677,883
Sheet two of the patent drawings for the lather applying razor
Sheet two of the patent drawings for US patent 2,677,883

Looking at the drawings, and reading the patent text, the meaning and function is clear. The point of it all is more unclear. But at least Fredric included a description of how to use his lather applying razor. A rather long description:

In operation, the base plate 15 is affixed to a conventional safety razor by being attached as shown in Figure 2 such that the finger projection 25 extends in a direction beneath the guard and cap of the safety razor. After the lather applicator has been thus applied to the safety razor a lather solution formed of soap and water is applied to the roller 28 either by immersing the roller in the solution or coating the same in any suitable convenient manner. The handle of the safety razor is then grasped by the user and the razor and applicator are manipulated as shown in Figure 3 to apply a film of lather to the users face. The device is moved to and from with the roller in facial contact so that the undulating rod 30 will produce a sufficient amount of foamy lather to soften the beard.
During the lathering operation the forefinger of the user is pressed against the finger projection 25 to hold the applicator roller 28 in its extended position as shown in Figure 3. When the beard has been sufficiently wetted and lathered, the roller supporting frame 22 is swung to the position shown in Figure 4 so that the finger projection 25 engages the neck of the handle 1, ln this position, the safety razor 5 can be used for the shaving operation with the roller 28 moving in advance of the cutting blade I2 so as to apply lather additionally and simultaneously cause the skin surface in advance of the razor blade to be maintained in a semi-stretched or taut position. Thus, the razor will cut the hair in closer relationship to the skin surface and produce a smooth and close shave. It is to be noted, that during the shaving action, the roller 28 also produces a massaging effect and kneading action which enhances the appearance of the user and creates a stimulating effect upon the users face.
When the user has finished shaving, the various parts of the razor may be removed and. the roller applicator likewise removed to facilitate cleaning by rinsing the roller in much the same manner in which the safety razor parts are rinsed after use.

From US patent 2,677,883

He makes it sound so simple. I’m sure that applying enough pressure on the little finger projection wouldn’t be difficult at all with wet fingers, and there is no way the blade would dig into the users face if the finger slipped and the roller suddenly folded under the razor while the user was applying pressure to build lather.5

It is a long patent. It is a wordy patent. And it is a patent that proves that not all ideas ought to be patented.

You can read the long and wordy patent over at Google Patents. Or you can look at all my other posts about weird shaving patents and other oddities.


  1. Apart from having a big thing hanging of your razor, of course.
  2. Yeah… right.
  3. Wonderous meaning that it makes me wonder about the inventor.
  4. One variation (figure 5 in the drawing) had the roller attachment built into the bottom plate, which is marginally more sane.
  5. I’m sure that wouldn’t happen every time, at least.

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  1. Pingback: Lather applying razor - Razors n Blades the shave that saves

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