“Shave yourself”

It is 1907, and Christmas is on the horizon. You have – at least in your own mind – perfected the safety razor. You done away with the need for stropping and honing. Now; how do you convince people that your razor, which is not cheap, is THE ideal holiday gift?

By a wall of text accompanied by a photo of yourself, how else?

It is the IDEAL gift. It is NOT a toy. It will LAST. The blades are so INEXPENSIVE that you can just throw them away.

And it does cost. Adjusted for inflation the cheapest combination set would set you back around 180 dollars today. The most expensive option would be a whopping 1390 dollars or so. For that kind of money the razor ought to be good and last forever.

A new blade for a new razor – but not the blade we use today

Advertisement that ran in the United Farmers of Alberta, Vol. 9, no. 7 (Apr. 1, 1930)

In 1930 Gillette’s new blade – the one with the slot – went on sale, and looks almost like the one we use and love today. Almost, but not quite… since today’s blade is the descendant of the blade that originated with the Probak razor. There differences are slight, and the lawsuit, counter-lawsuit, and corporate takeovers were… complicated. In the end Gillette bought AutoStrop (who owned Probak), but the real story on who gained control of who is something I have not dug into too much.

Luckily Glenn Conti over at the Gillette Adjustable Razors site have done just that, writing a wonderfully detailed analysis of the whole thing. Well worth a read.

In the mean time, enjoy the advertisement for the New Gillette Blade that didn’t quite make the cut.