Louis Heckel’s safety-razor-blade holder

Ever wished that you had more choices when it came to blades for your vintage Star, GEM or EverReady razor? Or have a lovely old wedge razor, but either is lacking the blades or can’t manage to get them sharpened and honed? Turns out that the solution was invented and patented one hundred and fifteen years ago… It’s a safety-razor-blade holder. To quote Louis Heckel:

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A more modern oddly shaped razor

A couple of days ago we had a look at Mr Nordskog’s oddly shaped safety razor, which was patented a hundred years ago. One of the patens which cites Mr Nordskog’s patent is assigned to American Safety Razor Company. Filed by Clemens A Iten in 1984. The later invention appears to be a recreation of the former patent in the shape of a multi-blade, disposable, cartridge monstrosity. One straight edge, one convex edge. No rounded edge on the short side though.

A cap and platform having an elongated longitudinally curved surface with a flexible shaving blade between them seem to be one of the major claims in the patent. Other claims goes into the construction of the cartridge.

The patent in its entirety can be read at Google Patents.

The start of a perfect day

Advertisements definitely seems to have worked differently back in the day. Take, for example, this Ever-Ready advertisement from 1920:

From The Saturday Evening Post, unknown date, 1920

For starters, it’s a fairly long read. I’m used to advertisements being a couple of paragraphs long at most, but this? This is a couple of minutes to read, minimum. Secondly, it talks to the reader in a different way than todays fare. We’re not bombarded with claims of “best blade ever”, but instead treated to a polite little diversion into the idea that a good shave can improve your life and the world before a nudge towards the Radio blade as the blade you ought to try.

Part of the difference comes down to, I believe, the fact that today’s world is full of happenings. We haste from one thing to the next without taking time to sit down and enjoy… but in 1920 there was no internet, no cable network, nor no cell phone competing for our attention every second. So on a Saturday evening, a man could turn on the wireless and sit down to enjoy the evening newspaper – and have the time to read it.

Take the time to sit down and read the advertisement. Ponder what it has to say about shaving giving you an advantage. And ponder – as I have – what exactly the the war-discovered Radio process of blade treatment is.

Another four edge razor

Most of us are happy with a single or double edge razor. Some want more than that, and I’m not talking about carts… I’m talking quad-edge. And I’m not talking about the one that Mr J K Waterman patented in 1909, no… This one is a bit newer, and was filed by Robert E Hamilton in 1924.

So lets see that Robert tried to achieve, that the offerings with fewer edges failed at:

…its prime object to generally improve upon such devices by providing a simple and efficient construction which will afford a maximum number of shaves with a minimum amount of trouble, one which is reliable, inexpensive to manufacture, easy to manipulate, strong, durable, and well adapted to the purpose for which it is designed.

US patent 1,721,113

As can be seen from the patent drawing, Robert’s razor features a massive – and I mean massive – head. The square top cap, plate, bottom plate, and handle is secured together in a somewhat convoluted way.. Lets quite Robert again:

A guard plate 7 having a square formation is provided with a concave inner surface indicated at 8 on which is mounted a U-shaped spring clip 9 by means of a screw 10. This verging terminals 11 and is adapted to be inserted through the square opening 2 so that its diverging terminals 11 overlap the outer face of the body 1. The upper face of the body 1 is of a substantially concaved formation and a square blade 12 is adapted to rest thereon being held in place by the guard plate 7. This blade is provided with four cutting edges and the corners thereof are prevented from contacting with the skin by guards 6. A bracket 14 is mounted on the outer face of the body 1 over the opening 2 and is provided with a threaded opening for receiving the reduced threaded extension 15 of a handle 16.

US patent 1,721,113
US patent 1,721,113

Clear as mud? No? Didn’t think so… as best I can make out you insert the four descending leaf springs from the top cap through the blade and into slots in the bottom plate. The handle just screws to the bottom plate, so you could in theory use aftermarket handles.

The whole patent can be read at Google Patents.

X3X Temper – a wartime discovery

The Great War – known later as the first world war – was a time of rapid innovation and discovery. Sadly, most of what we discovered and invented was faster, better, cheaper, and more horrifying ways of killing each other… but some of the discoveries also had uses after the war. Such as new ways to temper steel, which were later used in the EverReady Radio blades.

Vintage advertisement for EverReady Radio razor blades with X3X temper.

A quick online search don’t give any details on the tempering process used, but the kit pictured is identical to one I’ve inherited from a family friend.