Aloe’s Folding Razor

A razor can take up space in a gentleman’s vest-pocket… a problem several inventors searched for a solution to, including Mr Albert S Aloe. He came up with a folding razor all the way back in 1886.

Described, unsurprisingly, as a new and useful improvement in safety razors, Albert didn’t have the benefit of the thin replaceable blade. Like most razors of this era he had to work with a wedge blade. A wedge blade is chunkier than a modern razor blade, but also has the benefit that it can be stropped and honed.

In hindsight his razor is simple enough. A couple of pieces of sheet metal, shaped to hold and clamp a razor blade. The blade holder and guard were made to fold flat when not in use. In some ways you could see it as a folding version of John Monks’ razor.

Patent drawing showing Mr Aloe's foldign razor
Patent drawing for US patent 375,592

It is worth noting that the first claim in the patent isn’t the razor per se. Rather it is for the spiral guard, which was meant to ‘carry the lather endwise’ when the razor was used. Or in simpler words; keep the lather out of the way.

The blade was held in place by a spring loaded catch. This also made sure the distance between the edge and the guard stayed constant, even as the edge was gently worn away by stropping and honing. You could say the blade was self adjusting to keep it working as intended.

I see no reason why Aloe’s folding razor shouldn’t work as intended, nor any reason why a version couldn’t be made for a GEM blade. At the same time I see no reason why anyone would want one today, as it is unergonomic and looks like a kludge.

You can read the full patent for Aloe’s folding razor at Google Patents.

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