The Razor of To-day

Well, if ‘today’ was one hundred and thirteen years ago, that is. Straight from the pages of “Hardware and housewares“, the advertisement is delightfully simple for the time. A tagline, and a drawing of an Gillette Old Type razor and some blades. No wall of text, as other ads had. Instead the image has to carry the message.

A 1911 Gillette advertisement

Even today, about a hundred and twenty years after the Old Type was introduced, this would be a pretty sweet setup. Well, not would be – it is a sweet setup. There is a reason why I got an Old Type in my rotation, and why my travel razor is a 1918’s Service Set.

I’m a little sceptical to the old carbon blades, but that is because any you can get today is – unsurprisingly – old.

Sheet metal injector

Injectors can be complicated razors, even when meant to be simple. The forerunners of injectors were more complicated still. But today I have a nice find for you all; a very simple sheet metal injector. Patented by A William H Camfield in 1936, the patent was assigned to the Magazine Repeating Razor Co – the people behind the Schick Magazine Razors.1

The invention was touted as an improved and simplified form of safety razor and magazine, which also was cheap to manufacture.

Continue reading

Would you shave with a saw?

The answer is, according to this 1925 advertisement, no. A statement which, no doubt, a certain John Teetgen would agree with.

Which is why you needed to buy an Auto Strop. Because that can be honed every time you shave. So it don’t turn into a saw.

Good for may shaves, but they cleverly don’t say how many.

Fathers Day Gift

Sometimes, selecting just the right Father’s Day gift can be quite a problem.

But fear not, for Gillette has – or rather had, before they turned to the dark side and started offering plastic cartridge razors – a new and unique answer.

A complete compact vacation travel kit, with travel sizes of Gillette good grooming products. Also have space for a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Cheap too. Or at least, the 1955 price appears cheap to us, almost seventy years later.

The Simens Razor Sharpener Patent

A couple of days ago I shared a video I found on the restoration of a Simens razor sharpener. And guess what? I’ve now found the patent for it. Filed by Ferdinand Souczeck in 1933, the patent was applied for in – as far as I can tell – Czechoslovakia, Austria, and USA.

I’m not sure if Ferdinand worked for Simens, of if they simply bought the rights of him. What I do know is that Simens must have manufactured the device in several places. The one I own is clearly marked as made in Sweden, while other examples I found online is marked with Austria, Japan, USA, USSR, and elsewhere.

Continue reading

Griffbefestigung an Rasierapparaten – handle attachment to shaving apparatus

It is easy to forget, as one is looking at old patents online, that not every inventor spoke English. I’ve looked at several interesting non-english patents in the past, and stumbled over an interesting looking one today too. It is for how to do attach a handle to your shaving apparatus. Or to put it in a different way; a handle attachment to your razor.

Continue reading

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.