John H Woods’ “barbermaskine”

A little bit back we discussed an easy clamp safety razor. In that post I mentioned that the inventor had at least one other safety razor patent in his name. And funnily enough that other razor was also patented in Denmark, which is a language I can easily understand… so today I present John’s patent for a barbermaskine – or shaving machine, for those who don’t speak Scandinavian.

As a side note, the Norwegian term would be barbermaskin - and today it is used exclusively for electrical or mechanical shavers. A safety razor is termed a barberhøvel - a barber-plane

The goal of the patent is clearly stated in the first few paragraphs:

Opfindelsen angaar en Barbermaskine, hvis Fremstilling gør den praktisk og meget billig.
Det vigtigste ved Opfindelsen er at formindske Antallet af de nødvendige Dele til et Minimum og at forme disse Dele saaledes at de kan fremstilles og samles hurtig og helst ved hjelp av en automatisk Maskine.
Opfindelsen tilsigter desuten at fremstille en saa simpel Konstruksjon, at enhver let kan skille og samle Holdrerens Dele, som holder Bladet, saaledes at de hurtig kan befries for Sæbeskum og aftørres af Brugeren efter Barberingen.

From Danish Patent 17505

So a razor – or shaving machine – that would be both practical and very inexpensive. John also wanted to reduce the number of parts to a minimum, and to shape the parts in such a manner that they could be manufactured and assembled quickly and easily be a machine. And to top that of, John wanted to razor to be easily to disassemble, clean, and reassemble.

And looking at the patent drawing and the patent text, I think Jonh achieved a barbermaskine that meet all his stated objectives.

Then handle of the razor were to be made from a solid bar. This would be knurled for a portion of its length, to provide a better grip. At the top end it would be machine into a pin-like shape. This pin would be inserted in a hole in the middle of the head, and the top would be peened flat like a rivet. This would secure the head.

Patent drawing showing John H Woods' barbermaskine
Patent drawing from Danish Patent 17505

The head of the razor would be made from sheet stock, preferable spring steel. The head is given a slight curvature to stiffen it, and two arms (4) are stamped out from it. At one side there is a set of holes forming a combination comb and safety bar. The aforementioned arms holds the blade down. They also acts as blade stops to prevent the edge from sliding away from the comb.

On the short sides of the head there is a pair of scalloped edges. This made it easier to grab the blade for removal. The peened down pin from the handle sits in a cup like depression, avoiding interference with the blade.

John don’t say what sort of blade he would use in his barbermaskine. Logic would dictate that a blade similar to a Christy blade would be a natural choice. This would be very similar to a despined GEM, or a Valet Autostrop blade.

The only change I would make to John’s bar stock and sheet metal barbermaskine is how the handle is attached to the head. I would thread the pin-like projection and the hole in the head, instead of peening it down. Not because it would improve the shave per se, but because then I could experiment with shorter, longer, lighter, and heavier handles. But peening is faster, easier, and cheaper than threading, so…

You can read John’s Danish patent over at Espacenet. Or, if you don’t trust your ability to read slightly old Danish, you can read the British patent he filed for it the year before.

One thought on “John H Woods’ “barbermaskine”

  1. Pingback: John H Woods' "barbermaskine" - Razors n Blades the shave that saves

Leave a Reply