The revolving razor of Leopold Morris

Leopold Morris may not have been the only person to patent a revolver razor – we’ve looked at one or two before. But he was fairly early, and his razor is also an early example of a cartridge razor. Arguable a multiblade cartridge too, but not in the manner we think of today.

But let us start by seeing what Morris wanted to achieve. To quote his patent application:

The invention relates to a safety razor and more especially to a rotary adjustable safety razor.
The primary object of the invention is the provision of a razor of this character, wherein the head of the razor is in the form of a circular body embraced by a sleeve, the latter having cut and bent therefrom cutting blades, these being uniformly spaced from each other and each is adapted for shaving, the razor being of novel construction and is readily adjustable for the use of the cutting edges in accordance with the condition of the same.

From US patent 2,127,881

In short, a razor where the head is a cylinder, around which the user can place a sheet metal sleeve. In the sleeve, cut-outs forming blades. Sounds simple, yes?

Looking at the patent drawing… yes, it is that simple.

The revolving cartridge razor invented by Leopold Morris
Patent drawing from US patent 2,127,881

The handle is a simple L-shaped rod, with a thicker, knurled section. The head – if it can even be called so – of the razor is a cylinder with a wedge cut out. The cartridge – for lack of a better term – is a stamped piece of sheet steel. A number of slots are stamped out of it, bent to one side, and sharpened to create blades before the whole thing was bent into a cylinder.

The cylinder shaped cartridge had cut-outs on one side that mated with the handle. This, along with a bump that matched a grove in the head, held the cartridge secure while shaving. The missing wedge in the head provided a place for lather and shorn whiskers to go. There is, as can be seen, no separate guard or safety bar. Nor was there any protection on the rest of the blades.

When one cutting edge was dull, the shaver could simply pull the cartridge slightly to the side, rotate it, and press it back. This would expose a new, unused cutting surface.

There is, to my eye, a lot to improve on the razor that Leopold Morris dreamt up. For starters, the handle could be given a couple more bends so it underneath the middle of the razor, and not of to one side. Some form of guard ought to be fitted. And some way to protect the shaver’s face and fingers from all the other blades should be considered.

All in all there are many reasons why the revolver razor dreamt up by Leopold Morris seems to have remained on the drawing board. And while it is fun to look into what mental gymnastics inventers have come up with to improve our shaves, at least a regular old three piece double edged razor won’t slice our fingers open as easily as this razor would have.

The full patent can be read at Google Patents. If you enjoy old patents and other shaving oddities, be sure to check out the long list on my blog.

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