Disposable shavette

The seventies and eighties were a weird time. Plastic was fantastic, and making disposable things were seen as progress. And while in hindsight a disposable shavette may seen as a silly thing, the disposable shavette invented by Joseph W Blake III was meant for a specific use. And for that use a single use shavette makes sense.

To quote from the patent:

Whenever human (or, for that matter, animal) surgery is to be performed at or near parts of the body which exhibit a growth of hair, the hair must be removed prior to surgery. This is done to avoid interference with the execution of surgery and also for hygienic reasons. Electric shavers are not suitable for this purpose, for a variety of reasons known to those conversant with the art. Straight razors can be used, but require extraordinary care in use and are rather expensive to purchase as well as to maintain (they must be sharpened and sterilized between users).

From US patent 4,344,226

The patent text then goes on to point out that a suitable solution would be a safety razor, although the normal safety razors also needs sterilizing. Another solution, the patent text points out, would be a disposable razor – but disposables costs a lot of money.

As a side note, this isn’t the first disposable shaving implement we’ve looked at that mentions medial use. Not even the first disposable shavette for medical use. Or the first mention of a straight razor in a medical setting.

What makes this disposable shavette stand out is that it has a blade guard that can be easily removed if the user so desires.

Patent drawing showing Joseph W Blake III's disposable shavette for medical use.
Patent drawing from US patent 4,344,226

The whole assembly is made out of three or four parts; the handle, a blade, a blade retainer (not used in the second embodiment of the invention), and the guard that is detachable. The blade is aligned by a pair of notches, which matches two protruding bosses.

The major difference between the two embodiments of the disposable shavette – apart from the use or non-use of a retainer – is how the guard is attached and removed.

In the first embodiment, the guard is cast along with the handle, attached by a couple of narrow pieces. Twisting the protruding horn on the end of the guard will snap the guard of the shavette.

In the second embodiment, the guard is held on by a small hook. This means that the guard could be removed and – in theory – reattached. The bigger benefit of this embodiment would be the lack of a separate retainer.

I am not sure how the handle would be to shave with. On one hand it isn’t too different from my small Pereira shavette. On the other hand I find that handle hard to use, especially when shaving on the non-dominant side. Perhaps it works better when shaving others.

The full patent can be read at Google Patents.

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