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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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.

Shave of the day 30th November

A nice, slightly hurried start on a new week. The Goldex still works a treat, and you can’t beat a vintage razor for a moment of Zen in the morning.

Razor: GEM Micromatic Clug Pruf

Blade: GEM Single Edge Stainless

Brush: Vei Long “American style” 50/50

Lather: Goldex Nova Fórmula

Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara

Additional Care: Alum Block

Shave of the day 23rd November

A nice way to start the new week. Goldex shaving cream, courtesy of Camilo from Pereira Shavery, is a cream I have not have the pleasure of trying before, but after one shave I’m happy for the tub being large. The vintage Gem is a gift from fellow shaver.

Razor: GEM Heavy Flat Top
Blade: GEM Single Edge Stainless
Brush: Artesania Romera Manchurian Badger, imitation horn
Lather: Goldex Nova Fórmula
Aftershave: Barber No3 Marmara
Additional Care: Alum Block

A 1940 Gem Clog-Pruf advertisement

From Los Angeles Times May 29, 1940, I bring you a nice advertisement for the then new Glog-Pruf. Designed, they claim, for use with brushless cream – although in my experience it works with lather applied by brush too – and with the face-fitting bevel that prevents the dreaded five o’clock shadow.

It is amusing/amazing, in hindsight, to see how low they put the value of the razor, blades and cream. A dollar in 1940 adjusted for inflation equals less than a twenty today.

1936 Micromatic advertisement – effortless shaving

No effort, no scraping, no irritation – it just melts your whiskers away.

I’m not convinced about the melting of hairs, but the Micromatic is a very nice little razor. For just a dollar you could get not only a gold plated razor, but also five of the new blades developed alongside the Micromatic. In 1936, the Micromatic was a pretty recent razor – the mechanism having been patented in 1929.

In today’s money the razor (with blades) would cost just shy of 19 US dollars. Not a bad price for a razor that assuredly has stood the test of time.

Jeremiah Reichard’s 1906 Lather Catcher

Early GEM razors are often called lather catchers. This was because, like the Kampfe Bros’ Star we looked at last week, the head could hold a lot of lather while shaving. American Safety Razor Corp several patents for various designs, and Jeremiah Reichard’s patent filed in 1906 is one of the simpler yet interesting designs.

Simple in that it’s little more than a shaped piece of springy sheet metal, bent to form the head and blade holder. Interesting in that it shows good industrial design – making a single part make several jobs – and in that it’s possible the earliest patent to show what became what we today know as the GEM razor blade.

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