Wallace’s Overly Fancy Brush and Brush Warmer.

In 1887, Mr Arthur Henry Wallace of Houghton, Michigan came up with what he described as a new and useful improvement in shaving apparatus. And by shaving apparatus, Wallace clearly meant a doodad to hold and heat a brush.

Wallace’s doohickey was compact enough to be carried in a pocket or stowed away in a satchel. It would, he claimed, fulfil all the requirements for which it is intended. As long as the requirements is limited to forming a water reservoir, having a lamp to heat it, and having a built in shaving brush that wouldn’t touch the table when you put it down…

The drawing explain the thingamabob better than many words could. Which didn’t stop Wallace from using a lot of words.

Patent drawing for Wallace's shaving apparatus
Patent drawing for US patent 364,691

From the bottom up, we have:

A small spirit lamp, with a number of slits surrounding the wick. The slits would carry fresh air to the flame, as well as keep it from blowing out.

A conical cup forming a small water reservoir. This should be made of tin or other suitable metal. When the lamp was lit, the water would heat up quickly.

A cap or stopper that has a shaving brush attached to one side. The flange should be wide enough that the brush isn’t submerged completely The cap should also fit snuggly to keep the water from spilling.

On the other side of the cap is a handle made from flattened heavy metal. The shape and weight had two benefits. Firstly, it would make sure the brush couldn’t roll away. Secondly, the heavy handle would raise the wet bristles in the air.

And that is about it.

As for the use? Wallace offers this description in the patent text:

The water to be heated for use is placed in the reservoir of the body and the lamp lighted and fitted in the socket at the bottom of the body. The openings a in the wall B of the body permits the entrance of air to support combustion, and also the escape of all products of combustion. The flame of the lamp heats the water in the reservoir of the body in a very short time, and this water may be used both to temper the razor and provide the water for lathering the brush.

From US patent 364,691

There is little doubt to my mind that Wallace’s thingamajig would work as intended. And it would make sense back in the day when people didn’t have hot water from the tap, or even an easy way to heat water in the bathroom. More than one and a quarter century later, Wallace’s gadget would be little more than a cupboard filler and dust collector.

I still want one though.

You can read the full patent on Google Patent. If you enjoy this sort of thing, why not check out some of my other posts on shaving patents and oddeties?

One thought on “Wallace’s Overly Fancy Brush and Brush Warmer.

  1. Pingback: Wallace's Overly Fancy Brush and Brush Warmer - Razors n Blades the shave that saves

Leave a Reply