Last week I wrote about a water dispensing razor. In the actual patent I quoted, it referred to two other patents. One I have already covered, and one for a safety razor with fluid distributing manifold. Which is a fancy way of saying a safety razor with built in plumbing. Patented by Mr Joseph Waldman in 1963, it is certainly a novel idea. But being novel don’t mean that it was a good idea.
First, let us see what the patent set out to do. What imaginary problem will the plumbing razor fix for us?
As is well known, shaving lathers are all fundamentally moisturizing substances containing oil solvents which permit the moisturizing agent to penetrate into the beard and soften the whiskers so that they may be readily cut through by the razor blade. The soaking action of the moisturizing agent requires a few minutes to properly operate, and then when shaving is actually begun the cutting operation itself requires several minutes. During this time interval, those parts of the beard which are not cut first begin to dry out due to evaporation of the moisturizing agent which results in some stiffening of the whiskers and drying or caking tendency of the shaving lather. These conditions cause a relatively high friction condition to occur between the razor structure and the skin when these areas are subsequently reached during the shaving operation. The razor structure according to the present invention overcomes this problem by incorporating means thereinto which enable the user to maintain the surface of the skin to be shaved in a moist condition by providing a lubricating film for the razor to glide over as each shaving stroke is made, this being a primary object of the inventionFrom US patent 3,139,683
That is a lot of words to say that your lather sometimes collapses and dries if you take too long shaving. Perhaps it is just me, but wouldn’t using a better lather be a more sensible solution? But I guess that idea isn’t novel enough to get a patent for…
The actual patent isn’t satisfied in describing one razor with
fluid distributing manifold plumbing. It does in fact show three; a Twist To Open double edge, a GEM style single edge, and an injector. The common factor between the three is the fluid distributing manifold plumbing. And a rubber bulb to squeeze, like a old style car horn.
Yes, you read that right. The razors had a bulb to squeeze while shaving, so you could drizzle some water on your skin. I’m sure that really improved the fine control the shaver had over the shave…
At first glance the double edged razor looks a lot more complicated than the GEM or injector. This is mostly due to the fact that the double edge is a Twist To Open mechanism, and depict the internal bits for it. Much of the complexity in the drawing has nothing to do with the actual invention.
In short, the invention works as follows:
- The hapless shaver, upon realising that he did a poor job building his lather, gives the bulb a squeeze while shaving. Hopefully without sliding the blade sideways and cutting himself.
- Fluid travels up a pipe towards the shave head. In the case of the double edge, a series of flutes inside the handle allows water to pass through. For the two single edge razors, there is a pipe all the way through the handle.
- Said fluid is guided into one (on the single edge razors) or two (for the double edge razor) fluid distributing manifolds.
- In the fluid distributing manifold, a number of openings or nozzles lets the fluid gently dribble over the shavers face.
- The dribbling fluid washes away more of the lather, resulting in an even worse shave.
In all honesty, the last bit isn’t mentioned in the patent text. But it is a likely result of adding a lubricating fluid to a partway collapsed lather.
The patent is long expired, although I would question the sanity of anyone trying to copy it in this day and age. So I guess it is just a matter of time before Gillette or one of the other big multinationals adds a fluid distributing manifold on their latest and greatest cartridge razor.
The full patent can be read at Google Patents, as usual.