The shavette system of Edward Weck

Between 1908 and 1914, Edward Weck was granted four patents which, when taken together, creates a full on shaving system centred around a shavette – a shavette system if you want. Interestingly enough, this was around the same time as another shaving system was patented. And much like Clark’s system, Weck’s shavette system contained a razor, a blade, and a way to package the blades. Weck also came up with a stiffener, to make the blade stiffer.

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John T East’s shaving mug

Every invention seeks to solve a problem. In the case of John T East’s shaving mug, the problem was that of unsanitary shaving mugs. Or, to use a less technical term, icky soap.

According to John, the soap would fit snuggly in a regular mug, and thus get moist and soft, and, well, icky. Or in the words of the patent;

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Retractable brush

There has been a great many travel brushes thought up throughout the years. They range from simple ideas like my Omega 50014, via oddities like Michel Charles Blondin’s plurality of flat elements, to neat ideas like Marcus B Berhman’s collapsible lather brush. So Archer G Jones was in good company when he patented a retractable brush suitable for shaving and make-up.

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The shaving kit of William H C Taylor

What if you had more readily access to a brush or a suitable soap while shaving? And what if this more readily access was in a form that was convenient, compact, water proof, and adapted to be carried in your pocket or traveling bag? Well, fear not. William H C Taylor have you covered, with the shaving kit he got a patent for in 1925.

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Soap-feeding shaving brush.

As I mentioned last week, the self-feeding shaving brush is an idea that won’t die. But while most of them, from 1849 onwards, have used a piston to force soap into the knot, Richard Burton Waterman’s soap-feeding shaving brush was different.

I mean, the idea of pushing soap straight into the knot is the same. But he did it differently. Possible even better.

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Fountain brush

The fountain brush – or self feeding brush – is one of those ideas that just won’t go away.

Previously we have looked at a 1849 self feeding shaving brush, another self-feeding shaving-brush, a shaving brush suitable for travel and home, a soap-dispensing shaving brush, a fountain shaving brush, the Warner self-soaping brush, and more.

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Disposable shavette

The seventies and eighties were a weird time. Plastic was fantastic, and making disposable things were seen as progress. And while in hindsight a disposable shavette may seen as a silly thing, the disposable shavette invented by Joseph W Blake III was meant for a specific use. And for that use a single use shavette makes sense.

To quote from the patent:

Whenever human (or, for that matter, animal) surgery is to be performed at or near parts of the body which exhibit a growth of hair, the hair must be removed prior to surgery. This is done to avoid interference with the execution of surgery and also for hygienic reasons. Electric shavers are not suitable for this purpose, for a variety of reasons known to those conversant with the art. Straight razors can be used, but require extraordinary care in use and are rather expensive to purchase as well as to maintain (they must be sharpened and sterilized between users).

From US patent 4,344,226

The patent text then goes on to point out that a suitable solution would be a safety razor, although the normal safety razors also needs sterilizing. Another solution, the patent text points out, would be a disposable razor – but disposables costs a lot of money.

As a side note, this isn’t the first disposable shaving implement we’ve looked at that mentions medial use. Not even the first disposable shavette for medical use. Or the first mention of a straight razor in a medical setting.

What makes this disposable shavette stand out is that it has a blade guard that can be easily removed if the user so desires.

Patent drawing showing Joseph W Blake III's disposable shavette for medical use.
Patent drawing from US patent 4,344,226

The whole assembly is made out of three or four parts; the handle, a blade, a blade retainer (not used in the second embodiment of the invention), and the guard that is detachable. The blade is aligned by a pair of notches, which matches two protruding bosses.

The major difference between the two embodiments of the disposable shavette – apart from the use or non-use of a retainer – is how the guard is attached and removed.

In the first embodiment, the guard is cast along with the handle, attached by a couple of narrow pieces. Twisting the protruding horn on the end of the guard will snap the guard of the shavette.

In the second embodiment, the guard is held on by a small hook. This means that the guard could be removed and – in theory – reattached. The bigger benefit of this embodiment would be the lack of a separate retainer.

I am not sure how the handle would be to shave with. On one hand it isn’t too different from my small Pereira shavette. On the other hand I find that handle hard to use, especially when shaving on the non-dominant side. Perhaps it works better when shaving others.

The full patent can be read at Google Patents.

Safety razor with fluid distributing manifold

Last week I wrote about a water dispensing razor. In the actual patent I quoted, it referred to two other patents. One I have already covered, and one for a safety razor with fluid distributing manifold. Which is a fancy way of saying a safety razor with built in plumbing. Patented by Mr Joseph Waldman in 1963, it is certainly a novel idea. But being novel don’t mean that it was a good idea.

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Water dispensing razor

I have written about quite a few self lubricating razors. More than a few, to be frank. But the idea seems to turn up like a bad penny over and over and over again. Although – if the patent drawing is anything to go by – the water dispensing razor invented by Ralph Galli Jr in 1978 makes for a happy shaver.

As I’ve said before, the majority of patents seeks to fix a problem. And Ralph’s patent sought to fix the “problem” of the skin not being moist and lubricated. In the words of the patent:

Description of the Prior Art
In order to obtain close, smooth shaves and to minimize cuts when using a safety razor, it is necessary to maintain the skin in a moist lubricated condition. Various devices have been proposed which have fluid dispensing containers and tubes attached to or within the handle of a razor. These devices have generally been quite complex, difficult to use and require entirely new razor configurations, such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,139,683, issued July 7, 1964, and U.S. Pat. No. 2,336,806, issued Dec. 14, 1943.
Summary of the Invention
It is therefore the primary object of the present invention to provide a safety razor having a simplified water dispensing arrangement which does not require extensive modifications of standard razor types.

From US patent 4,177,556

A problem I fixes every time I shave by not using canned goo or, even worse, no lather at all. But that idea wasn’t good enough for Ralph. Instead he came up with a single edged razor that you could hook up to the bathroom faucet.

Yes, you did read that right.

Ralph invented and patented a razor that, in order to work as intended, needed to be connected to the water tap in your bathroom.

Yes, that is as crazy as it sounds. The only thing that would be more crazy if is the patent drawing contained a severely misshapen man using… the… razor… oh. Right. At least he is smiling. Moving on!

Patent drawing for Ralph's water dispensing razor. Note misshapen shaver.
Patent drawing from US patent 4,177,556

Odd looking drawing aside, the water dispensing razor is fairly straight forward. A okay looking single edge razor have a manifold in the head. The handle is hollow, and has a small pushbutton valve in the upper part. The handle is connected to the faucet with a flexible hose, which has an adjustable clamp bearing down on it.

In use, the shaver would first spend a few minutes untangling the hose before attaching it to the faucet. Then he would open the faucet, adjust the clamp, before pushing the pushbutton valve. And then water would come out of the razor head and flush any soap or lather away from the shavers face.

I mean, I do get it. Some people like shaving in the shower. This would be much the same, but without the shower. I don’t like shaving in the shower, in part because water, while wet, don’t give me any cushion nor glide. Water is lousy lather.

From a technical point of view, this invention will work as intended. The water dispensing razor will dispense water. I’m just forced to ask why… why go to all the trouble to create a moist lubricated condition, when the solution is called a brush and a puck of soap?

As usual, you can read the full patent on Google Patents.