Larkin Idea – guide to correct shaving.

The Larkin Idea a home improvement magazine and mail order sales catalogue from the late 19th and early 20th century. It helped propel the Larkin Company into gigantic mail order conglomerate in the early part of the 20th century. Today both the company and their “idea”1 is all but unknown, even if Larkin rivalled Sears at its height. While the story behind the company is intriguing, to say the least, it is not the focus today. Rather I want to show you a tutorial in four parts that was printed in the Larkin Idea in 1905. They refereed to it simply as “Correct Shaving”.

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Shave Library – a straight razor wiki

Shave Library is a new wiki dedicated to shaving with a straight, tied to the Sharp Razor Palace forum. There is a lot of good information available on the wiki already, but like all good wikis it has room to grow.

A wiki is – as I’m sure most people know – a hypertext publication collaboratively edited and managed by its users. In other words, it’s a fountain of shave gear knowledge everyone can add to.

The site focuses almost exclusively the classic straight, and while shavettes are mentioned there is little to nothing on Gillette style razors to be found. For those of us who prefers shaving with a safety razor, there is still good reads on the site. In particular I’ve enjoyed the DIY-section, since I like to tinker.

I learned about the Shave Library through ShaveFan, who I’ve written a post about before. And now that you learned about it through me, perhaps you should go have a look at Shave Library?

Solid Shave shaving with a Stahly Live Blade

Solid Shaves is one of the very few shaving related YouTube channels I follow. In his latest video he’s using a Stahly Live Blade vibrating razor. I’ve been intrigued by the Stahly Live Blade for years now, and it’s neat to watch it in use.

If you don’t want to watch the prep, go to 9:00

One of these days I need to find the patent for the Stahly Live Blade. I suspect the gear train is going to be interesting, even if it might not be much to snark about. – a website and a resource

As some of you might have noticed, I like patents for old razors and related accoutrements. Like enough to have many, many posts about them. Enough to self publish a book about them. And more than enough to appreciate the work behind a site like is a site mostly about razor patents. It have some added bonuses like a handful of inventor biographies, a few articles on razor related subjects, and short how-to’s on how to make your own wedge blade and taking 360° images. The main focus is on patents though, and where I will show of a patent and either snark on some of the odd details or ramble about the things I like, lays out the patent in a clear, readable format with interactive drawings. is a good resource for anyone who likes old razors and engineering. Personally I would enjoy seeing more shaving related accoutrements – brushes and bowls – but it is a great resource both for research and relaxation. Go check it out.

ShaveFan is a a shaving-focused link aggregation and discussion web site. In other words a place where interesting links from all over the shaving world ends up, so you don’t have to visit several blogs, forums and sosial media daily. In a way it’s like,1 but with more focus and less snark. ShaveFan uses tags to allow for easy filtering and searching.

It’s possible to use it just as a visitor, but to gain the full benefit you ought to sign up. As a full member you can submit and vote on links. You also need to be a member if you want to comment on any links listed. For the time being at least you have to have an invite, more on that later.

I’ve been a member on ShaveFan for a while now, and I find it useful both for finding out what is going on in the world of shavers, as well as – being honest here – promoting some of the more interesting things I write about on my blog. With more members I can see ShaveFan becoming an even more useful addition to the shave world.

Interested in joining ShaveFan? Ask either ShaveFan himself (he’s also active on Twitter) or me about an invite. Reach me through my contact form, on twitter, or via PM on my favourite shave forum.

  1. is a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site – a decent place if you want to know what is going on without having to visit several dozen news sites.

I’m wondering if I should commit a book…

…well… not a whole book per see, but an annotated and commented version of the classic “Shaving Made Easy – What the Man Who Shaves Ought to Know”.

The original is from 1905, and is still a decent read (link in the sidebar of my blog, if interested – or find a copy on Wikisource, or Project Gutenberg) but for obvious reasons don’t do much to cover some of the things a modern wetshaver needs to know.
I’m looking for either encouragement or discouragement… pros and cons.
If I do go ahead, finishing it will take time since it’ll be done in between everything else I have on my plate. I was thinking making it available for download, on Kindle and possible as a print on demand book.

Solid Shave shows us Indonesian shaving stuff

I’ve mentioned Solid Shaves’ YouTube channel before, as one of the few shaving channels I keep an eye on… in part – I must admit – due to the channel owner being a Norwegian like myself.

He travelled to Indonesia this summer, and have shared some of the shaving related finds he spotted on his trip. It is interesting to compare and contrast what you can find in the shops in the Far East as compared to the selection in the Cold North… so enjoy!

You might want to browse his other uploaded videos too. A lot of them are “just” shaving videos, but his style and presentation is different enough from some of the so called big names on YouTube to make them worth watching, at least to me – a little less slick and a lot more genuine.

Everything old is new again, again

…and again, and again.

Heated razors is an age old quest. Gillette just dropped one, which seems to have impressed Mark over on the Sharpologist, and in their typical over the top marketing Gillette seems to be pushing this since the best shave ever… A hint for P&G: if you need to advertise the fact that your razor is waterproof, you’ve likely made an overly complicated razor.

Electrically heated razors isn’t a new idea by far, even if the latest itteration seems both more complicated* and far safer to use than some of the older ideas**.

While I can’t be completly sure, I’m reasonable satisfied that the current offering is based on a patent I found that was filed in in 2008 and assigned to the Gillette company – the patents describe a great many of the same features as the ads do.

…safety razor comprises a handle 14, a cartridge 15 with a safety device 18, a plate 24 and blades 30 between them. Inside the cartridge there is a heat-dispersive strip 40 and a heating element 45 with a resistive element 46 and an insulating element 50. The safety device comprises an electrical circuit providing power supply to the resistive element that provides heat to the heat-dispersive strip so that it imposes warmth to skin of the user during shaving.

The patent also lists twenty seven (27!) citations that predates it… and I found quite a few patents for heated razors that isn’t listed in the application.

Barra Charles  filed a version all the way back in 1923. If you think the plug looks kind of odd it’s because you’re meant to screw it into a light bulb socket… so no chance of grounding it.

…electrically heat safety razors in such a manner that they may be conveniently used while being heated and that the heat may be maintained during the shaving operation at any desired temperature, whereby I am enabled to obtain the advantageous results of smoothness and comfort during shaving and to avoid infections of the skin which frequently occur from the use of unsterilised razors.

Charles Barra also filed a heated straight razor in 1923, or rather an attachment that turned your straight into a heated razor:

A razor blade heated to such a temperature will make shaving of a persons face more comfortable and the resulting shave will be more satisfactory than where the face is shaved with a cold razor. 

…using an electric heater disposed at a suitable distance from the cutting edge of the blade, and in thermal relation thereto, which heater may be supplied with current from an ordinary electric service outlet, whereby the blade may be heated to and maintained at a sterilisation temperature both while not in use and while in the act of shaving.

(As a side note, sterilisation temperature is about 80°C (175°F) for almost all bacteria, yeast, and fungi… 80°C is enough to cause second and third degree burns in less than one second.)

In 1933 Pirwitz Emil filed for a safer variation, which required plugging and unplugging the razor:

…the invention employs a heating bolt disposed in the handle of the razor and made of material that is a good heat conductor, such as metal, the bolt iilling the entire handle from one end to the other and being adapted after one heating to keep the razor heated during an entire shaving operation without a new supply of heat.

…a bolt of this type permits the use of the razor without the dangers resulting from keeping the razor under current during the shaving operation. 

Mr Pirwitz also showed an interesting variation in the same patent:

 Look at figures 3 and 4; it’s a regular safety razor inserted into the heating device… which I presume you could either use while inserted in the bulky heater or take out and burn your fingers badly while shaving.

Thomas J Henderson and Leon Henderson aimed for cool hands in their 1935 patent:

The primary object of our invention is to provide in a safety razor a handle thereof which in use will apply heat only to the desired portion of the razor, that is, the head and blade, but will maintain a cool handle or grip.
A further object of our invention is to provide an electrically heated safety razor handle which is readily adapted for use on any suitable razor head.

Or how about this one from 1942, patented by Moses M Gravin?

…a safety razor with an electrically heated heating element therein which transmits an even heat to the razor blade and keeps it warm or hot during the shaving operation.
One of the objects of my invention is to heat the razor blade by conduction through a metallic element. I Another object of my invention is to provide ventilation between the heating element and the handle so that the handle will be cooled by the circulation of air.

In 1948 James Russel Hunt filed for a heated razor that allowed the shaver to adjust the current going into the razor by means of a rheostat: electro-thermic shaver of the safety razor type which is adapted to directly heat the razor blade by heat conduction through a metallic element having a high coefficient of thermal conductivity such as copper.
…a heat control unit to permit the heat to be regulated by the user to produce various heat temperatures.

So as can be seen, the desire to make a heated razor is almost as old as Gillettes original safety razor… there is nothing new under the sun, nor in the shave den – except this time the offering isn’t that much bulkier than a regular razor, nor does it offer the exciting chance of electrocuting yourself while shaving.

*) It has overheat protection, two levels of heating, onboard battery with wireless charging, microcontroller, wobbly blades… I suspect the lats bit is unintentional
**) Hook your ungrounded razor up to the light fixture in your bathroom.. what can go wrong?