Lathering device and razor assembly

A novel1 lathering device and razor assembly was patented in the late 70’s. Invented by a Mr Thomas G Roberts,2 the lathering device was intended to apply lather and moisture to a shaving surface in advance of the razor blade.

Sounds familiar? Sure does. It is an old idea, rehashed time and time again. Thomas opted for a solid cake of soap instead of a liquid lathering agent, but conceptually there wasn’t to much new.

Still, Thomas’ variation on the theme was novel and non-obvious enough to get him a patent.

Thomas’ invention seems to have been paired with a cartridge razor. So that is two strikes against it. Not only is the concept questionable,3 but I don’t like cartridge razors on principle.

The patent drawings shows multiple variations of the invention. Most of them were variation on soap-holder-and-clip.

Figure fifteen to twenty-one on the other hand, is a bit more interesting. It shows, according to the patent:

…a second embodiment of this invention. According to this embodiment the combination of moisturizing, lathering and shaving means are brought together into a single assembly. This assembly consists essentially of a razor blade head in combination with a soap cake holder and a water container which provides moisture to the soap cake and shaving surface. In addition to serving as a reservoir, the water container element also provides the user with a convenient means for holding and manipulating the shaving apparatus.

From US patent 4,074,429

While I’ll refrain4 from pointing out that the whole idea of applying lather just in front of the blade is silly and pointless, the design is interesting. It combines a razor head,5 a water reservoir with outlet, and a cake of soap. The patent goes into a bit of verbose detail, but in short the water will wet the soap as the razor is tilted, and lather will magically appear as the razor is slid over the shavee’s face.

Colour me a bit dubious. Actually, colour me very dubious.

The whole device is wedge shaped, like some of the best cars from the period. I am slightly puzzled over the apparent use of a double edged razor head, while the soap cake is only accessible on one side.

Still, it looks neat. Pair it with a traditional safety razor head, and it would merely be another non-working idea. The full patent can be read on Google Patents.

Footnotes:

  1. It says so right in the title. A patent wouldn’t lie, would it?
  2. From Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania – which seems like a nice little town on Google Maps.
  3. To say the least…
  4. Refrain from doing it over and over and over again, I mean.
  5. Which looks like a double edged cartridge.

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