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…

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Spring loaded hoe razor

At about the same time as the original Gillette safety razors were offered for sale, Henrie Clauss filed a patent for a spring loaded hoe razor. It was a reasonable straight forward razor, using a single edged Christy-style blade. So let us have a look at what made it stand out from the crowd.

Like so many razor patents, the patent text describes the invention as containing “new and useful improvements”. And while it might have been novel – or at least novel enough for a patent – I’m unsure of the usefulness.

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Memorial weekend free e-book offer

Memorial day is upon us, and while I’m not in the US I do realise that a lot of my readers are.. and Memorial day is both the start of summer and a log weekend. So to help y’all pass the time in the sun, I’m offering free copies of my second book.

From May 26th and until May 30th you can go to Amazon (US, UK, or wherever) and grab a free Kindle copy of

Another 80 razor and shaving patents:
Further semi-curated selections of important, interesting, inessential, and plain odd shaving related patents

Gillette’s first patent filed in 1901

A few days ago we had a look at a 1917 Gillette advertisement, which referenced a patent filed in 1901. And today we look at that patent – and how it differs from Gillette’s better known and slightly newer patent for the Old Type safety razor.

But before we get into the differences, let’s see what King wanted to achieve with his invention:

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Electrically heated safety razor

As I briefly mentioned in a post a couple of years ago, the idea of a heated razor is old. As old as the idea of self-lubricating razors and self feeding brushes. And a heated safety razor makes about as much sense to me. It may make more sense if you’re bathroom is frigid and you don’t have endless hot water straight from the tap. And it obviously made some form of sense to Leon and Thomas J Henderson back in 1935 when they applied for a patent for their variation on the theme of heated safety razor.

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Light attachment for razors

People get bright ideas now and then – and by that I mean people trying to put a light in or on their razors. The light attachment patented by Jacob N Garfunkle in 1927 is just one in a long line. Personally I like turning up the light in the bathroom, but a century ago that might not have been an option.

But first, let us see what Jacob was trying to achieve with his invention:

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A 1867 improvement in shaving-cups – the first scuttle?

Wikipedia, in their article on shaving soap, sort of implies that a 1867 patent for an improved shaving mug is the first patent for a scuttle. And while I haven’t tried to verify that claim, if this isn’t the first scuttle it is an early scuttle for sure.

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Shaving composition

This shaving composition comprises a water soluble polyethylene oxide polymer having a molecular weight of 400,000 or less, a tracking agent component, a preservative component, and an anti-caking component.

From US patent 4,381,293

At some point I thought that shaving soap was a simple thing… well, I’ve learned much since then. And this 1983 patent for a shaving composition highlights just how much it can differ from a simple mixture of a base and fat or oil.

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Utility kit

Need a new travel kit? One that keep everything tidy and don’t slide around as you try to shave in an unfamiliar bathroom? Well, look no further than the utility kit patented by John E Borah in ’57.

So now that I told you to look at it, what is it? To quote from the patent:

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