A simple and neat 1909 shaving system

Early in 1909 Mr O A Clark filed a patent for a razor that looks remarkable modern. A little too modern for the time perhaps… it used a slotted blade, something that didn’t catch on until the 30’s. But Mr Clark didn’t stop by patenting a razor. He also patented the blade by itself, which had some neat features. He patented a way to pack and dispense the blades neatly. And he patented the way to manufacture his special blades. In short, Osroe A Clark dreamt up and patented a whole shaving system. Which seems to have sunk without much of a trace… shame, really.

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Surgical razor blade with integral guard

A razor blade is – to no one’s surprise – razor sharp. But in some causes, like when you shave someone else, you want a blade less likely to cut. Cut skin, that is. A safety blade, if you like. There have been many such blades patented over the years, like R E Thompson’s 1924 toothed blade and A W Ferrara’s 1966 safety blade. And this one, Donald S Daniel, Jr.’s 1978 patent for a surgical razor blade.

Like before, the idea was to make the blade less likely to cut skin by giving it an integral guard. Donald did it by wrapping a thin, flexible wire around a rectangular blade. Or in the words of the patent:

A surgical razor blade with an integral guard for its cutting edge in the form of a plurality of spiral windings of thread being of flexible material capable of being pressed against the blade cutting edge under pressure in shaving contact with the normally unshaven areas of the skin without severance of the thread…

From US patent 4,094,066

In short, a blade protected by a wire the blade can’t cut. The patent do go into a bit of details on the thickness of the wire (0.2mm to 1.0mm) and the distance between the windings (1.0mm to 4.0mm). This would, according to the patent, allow the shaver to select the best blade for the hair and area to be shaved.

For extra safety, the corners of the blade were rounded so you couldn’t nick the shavee with a sharp point.

Patent drawing showing Donald's surgical razor blade.
Patent drawing from US patent 4,094,066

The razor shown in the patent, aptly described in the patent as a “suitable holder” is fairly conventional. A handle, a bottom plate with a guard, and a top plate. It would differ form a regular three piece though, since the blade did not have a slot. Instead the blade would have to index of two notches cut at each end of the blade. How the top plate would connect to the bottom plate isn’t explained in the patent. However, judging by the drawing, there seem to have been a bayonet locked pin operated by a tiny lever on either side. A little fiddly, but probably okay for surgical use.

I see no reason why Donald’s surgical razor blade shouldn’t work as intended. At least one conceptually similar blade is for sale today, in the form of the Feather Artist Club ProBlade. The major hurdle I can see with the blade is that it won’t work in a regular razor – unlike Thompson’s and Ferrara’s blades.

You can read the full patent on Google patents. Is you like this sort of things, why not check out some of my other posts on the subject of old patents?

Razor safety rack

What is a razor safety rack, you may ask? Well.. a razor safety rack is basically a rack for your safety razors. Or as the patent abstract puts it:

A holder for a plurality of safety razors and other bathroom articles is detachably secured to a bathroom wall.

Catch mechanisms disposed in all of the recesses press against the heads of both double and single edge razors to hold same detachably in these recesses to prevent the razors from being accidentally dislodged therefrom.

From US patent 4,008,808

So a razor safety rack is a rack that safely holds your safety razors. It isn’t the first wall mounted razor kit or holder I’ve shown here. It is the first, as far as I recall, that has catch mechanisms though.

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Shave of the day 30th January 2023

Razor: Schick Type B2

Blade: Schick Injector

Brush: Omega #10048

Pre-Shave: O Way Softening Shaving Cream

Lather: Proraso Menthol & Eucalyptus

Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara

Additional Care: Alum Block

SOTD 2023 01 20

Another lovely little shave with the Holy Grail razor. Once I figured out the angle and balance, the B2 has been nothing but a joy to use.

Razor with Slide-On Handle

Sometimes I see a patent, and can’t help but to wonder why the idea didn’t take of. And a little while ago razors.page shared a patent which – if there had been any justice – ought to have been a run-away hit. Hubert Chauncy Hart’s razor with a slide-on handle was the best thing before1 sliced bread. As it is, it ended up being one of the many razor patents that went no where. It is still worth a look though.

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Shave of the day 16th January 2023

Razor: Schick Type B2

Blade: Schick Injector

Brush: Artesania Romera Manchurian Badger, imitation horn

Pre-Shave: Proraso Pre Shave Cream

Lather: Cold River Soap Works’ Barbere Sapone

Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara

Additional Care: Alum Block

SOTD 2023 01 16

My very first shave with a Schick Repeater. While the age of the razor isn’t a novelty to me – I got several older razors in my rotation – this one was still very special. Almost emotional, since I have been wanting a Schick Repeater for years now. As for the shave itself… not bad for the first time with a new-to-me razor. Expect a full review/report when I’ve used up the blade.