Twelve blades for Two Years shaving?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Taipan, Feb 15, 2017.

  1. Taipan

    Taipan Well-Known Member

    I was reading that Mr Gillettes original offering was a razor and twelve blades for $5.00. Now, that was about 1/3 of an average working man's wage, back in the day.
    To justify this expense, the shtick was that there would be no more cost for two years as each side of each blade was good for 20-30 shaves!
    My question: has anyone put this to the test? I'd have a go but I don't think that any of my original blades are of good enough quality; they all show some corrosion to varying degrees.
     
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  2. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Figure back in the day most folks only made one pass (I am making an assumption, of course).
    Today, many of us are making 2, 3 or even more.
    Figure this - I make three passes every day, use a blade for five shaves. That's the equivalent of 15 shaves back then.
    I know I could take a blade out a couple o' more shaves, but I don't push it.
    I can see 20-30 shaves, no problem. They were also selling various blade stropping items such as the Twinplex (?) and small ceramic thingies (I have one, forget what it's called).
    I believe stropping, even hand stropping, extends the blade life for more shaves.
    As for corrosion, you're seeing corrosion on blades that are already how old?
    Back then, they were fresh outta the box.
     
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  3. subvet

    subvet Well-Known Member

    There is no way, even with one pass, those old carbon steel blades would ever last that long. There were several blade stropping machines that came on the market back then because carbon steel blades dulled quickly due mainly to corrosion but wear also figured into the issue. Gillette today still spouts unrealistic blade life in most of its advertising.
     
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  4. DaltonGang

    DaltonGang Ol' Itchy Whiskers

    I've used DE blades past 50 three pass shaves, with modern and vintage SS blades. I can see them doing it with some stropping, and one pass shaves. As well as oiling the blade after each use.
     
  5. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    If we liken a carbon steel razor blade to a carbon steel kitchen knife, I tend to agree, that without some kind of intervention between shaves (stropping, etc.) the likelihood of getting 30 shaves---even one-pass shaves, out of one blade seems unrealistic. My one carbon steel knife needs to go on the steel before each use and while it takes a keen edge, dulls quickly.
     
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  6. RetLEO-07

    RetLEO-07 Well-Known Member

    :signs011:
     
  7. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    The original blade offering from Gillette assumed that you would return the blades to have them sharpened. They stopped doing that after the first year or so, and switched to a fully disposable blade. Those first blades were very thick, on par with a wedge ground straight razor. The next blades were almost as thick, and were sold with the moniker "No stropping, no honing." I'm not entirely sure which blades you are talking about.

    Edit: ads from 1906 indicate "no exchange and no resharpening." I'm sure some men got 20-40 shaves per blade, just as some of us used Mach 3 cartridges long past the point where they should be changed. We've become rather spoiled in this modern era of cheap DE blades. If DE blades cost a dollar or two per blade, people would probably tend to use them longer as well, assuming they were still the cheapest disposable shaving option.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
  8. RetLEO-07

    RetLEO-07 Well-Known Member

    Awesome history lesson there!
    :happy088::happy088:
     
  9. Taipan

    Taipan Well-Known Member

    I don't know which blades they were referring to but I'm assuming the original offering.
    I'd still like to know if anyone on here has tried out shaving with a very early razor and blade and how they got on with it.
     
  10. Taipan

    Taipan Well-Known Member

    The Gillette boast was for 20 or 30 shaves PER EDGE. so 40-60 per blade!
     
  11. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Claim here (Double Ring pictured) is 10-30 shaves per blade not per edge.
    [​IMG].

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
     
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  12. RetLEO-07

    RetLEO-07 Well-Known Member

    Very coool!
     
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  13. Taipan

    Taipan Well-Known Member

    That advert is very interesting. You don't happen to know the date of it?
     
  14. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    IMG_2753.JPG
    Back on Feb. 8, I shaved with a Twinplex blade that was probably made in the 20s. It is the same shape as the original Gillette 3 hole blades, so it was made for the Gillette Old Types. It was an excellent shave. I have trouble with modern blades and the OT razor, but this blade was a dream. The blades were thicker, and I think thicker is better. Injectors last longer for me and I attribute that to their thickness. One day, I may do a marathon with the Twinplex blade and the OT. I'm doing Fatboy February right now, and I will be doing injectors in March.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
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  15. Screwtape

    Screwtape Well-Known Member

    If you check the 30-Day Focus threads for January and February, in early January I started shaving with a PAL Gold Thin Hollow Ground carbon steel blade. It dates back to the second era of carbon blades, the thinner ones that came in after the Depression. I would guess mine were made in the mid-1940s. I honed it as needed with a 1930s era bladesaver called the Stanford 5 - Second Sharpener. The Stanford was designed to hone the older, thicker 3-hole Gillette blades but does work fairly well with the thinner ones too.

    I junked the blade yesterday. After 41 shaves.
     
  16. Jayaruh

    Jayaruh The Cackalacky House Pet

    Supporting Vendor
    That is pretty good. Last month I finished my 46th shave with a Personna Super Blue. I palm stropped it after most of the shaves. It was good to the end.
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    1904 (the St Louis exposition was April-December of that year). The blade design was changed in 1905.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2017
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  18. Screwtape

    Screwtape Well-Known Member

    I don’t think pure carbon steel blades will last quite as long as coated stainless ones. On the flip side, the carbon blades could be stropped or honed while that has little effect on the coated stainless ones -- and there were dozens of gizmos on the market to hone them, including everything from the complicated Twinplex "pencil sharpeners" to simply rubbing them around the curved rim of a glass. And, of course, the original blades were between a modern blade and an injector blade in thickness, which would also have an effect.

    I know guys in the Excalibur Club on Badger and Blade try to see how long they can make a blade last and a lot of them routinely go 100+ on modern blades. And I just went 41 on a thin carbon blade. So I have no doubt whatsoever that pennypinchers back in the day could routinely get a month or even two out of a thick carbon blade -- and even more if they honed it.
     
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  19. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN COTQ Instigator

    Article Team
    I've gotten 40+ shaves from a carbon blade using a shake sharp razor.

    Studies have shown that people have been psychologically conditioned to replace their razor blades after three or four shaves, regardless of whether or not the blade needs to be replaced.
     
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  20. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    I can believe it.
    Studies have put a $700 price tag on a bottle of wine and a $15 price tag on another of the same vintage. Tasters will swear how much better the $700 bottle is and claim the $15 bottle to be swill. IT'S THE SAME WINE, PEOPLE!
     
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