AsylumGuido's Guide to Super Speed Identification

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by AsylumGuido, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. AsylumGuido

    AsylumGuido New Member

    After having posted this information in bits and pieces I felt I would be, with recent prompting ... :wink: ... a good idea to bring it all together. I know there are a couple of other quirks that I will add over time. And, please, if anyone comes up with new or better info let me know so I can add to or update. This is a work in progress. Anyway, on to the Super Speeds!

    You really can't go wrong with the 40's, 50's, 60's or the 70's styles. They'll all give you a good starting point to let you know if you want, or need to go more aggressive or more mild. Here's some sample shots of the many types available.

    40's Style (many feel it is the best of the bunch)
    [​IMG]

    The first 40's style Super Speeds appear in or around 1947. These razors did not have the date code on the underside of the base until the fourth quarter of 1950. The 1947 SS can be uniquely identified by the lack of a notch at the end of the center bar. In 1948 the notched bar was introduced to make the auto-loading of the new dispenser blades easier. The razor shown below is an example of the no notched 1947. Note the "wings" at the ends of the center bar. According to several users this razor is milder in nature than the later notched versions. Many thanks to B&B member mr-razor (Achim) for his donation of these comparison pictures.
    [​IMG]

    Below is pictured a '48-'50 notched Super Speed for comparison. The reason you will see these referred to as '48-'50 is that without the identifying date code there is no way to nail down the exact production year beyond that range.
    [​IMG]

    Here are the two variations side by side along with directions for use with the newer notched version.
    [​IMG]

    There was a variation of the 40's style known as the Black Tip. It came in the aluminum handle (bottom) and the standard handle (top). The TTO knob on the Black Tip was the only plastic example in the Super Speeds.
    [​IMG]

    In the third quarter of 1954 (date codes Z-3 and Z-4) Gillette gave the 40's style Super Speed its last hurrah with a special limited edition re-release promoting the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. Once again thanks to Achim for the image as I no longer have mine with the case. The razor itself is identical to the latter 40's styles.
    [​IMG]

    50's Style - A richer knurled handle and a flair tip introduced in 1954 (Z date code).
    [​IMG]

    The 50's style also comes in a more aggressive model called the Red Tip. This one is a favorite among many wanting that aggressive shave.
    [​IMG]

    And a more mild version called the Blue Tip which had an aluminum handle and was a favorite of the ladies of the day before the Lady Gillette of 25 years later.
    [​IMG]

    This brings to light another subtle variation with the Blue Tip. Notice the shorter TTO knob on the 1959 (E-4) on the left. There is only one horizontal ring as opposed to the two on the 1956 (B-1) on the right. Thanks to Shave Den member scottydoint for this picture. I hope to come up with more clarification and will update here as this muddiness clears.
    [​IMG]

    Another very special variation of the 50's style Super Speed was the 1958 TV Special which was released as another promotion for the American television show, The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. Note the vertical knurling as opposed to the "checkered" or bi-lateral knurling of the standard 50's style. This razor came in a red version of the TV Special case pictured above with its 1954 TV cousin.
    [​IMG]

    Pictured below is the '58 TV Special with its case.
    [​IMG]

    60's Style - Note the lack of horizontal grooves on the TTO knob and the slight difference in general knurling from the 50's version. Also note the lower profile head.
    [​IMG]

    And finally, what I like to call the 70's style, the black handle Super Speed. It is lighter weight and delivers a nice shave as does it's predecessors.
    [​IMG]

    I will add to this post as I have in hand new and different Super Speeds.

    P.S. I know, I haven't even touched on the Rockets (European and Canadian versions of this great razor). :001_rolle
     
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  2. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

    Beautiful and timely dissertation. Thank you for putting this together.
     
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  3. The Zook

    The Zook New Member

    Very nice!

    Thank you... I'm sure I'll be coming back to this thread now and again to refresh my memory.

    That's odd about the blue tip...
     
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  4. AsylumGuido

    AsylumGuido New Member

    I developed this for another site, but it really needs to be here as well. It makes it much easier to point someone to the thread than to spell it all out new each time.

    Mods - Would this qualify for sticky status?
     
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  5. Wishoot

    Wishoot Member

    This would be a good sticky.
     
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  6. AsylumGuido

    AsylumGuido New Member

    Yup. Still haven't solved that little mystery.
     
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  7. D.irving79

    D.irving79 Gemocrat

    no tan tip?



    :)
     
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  8. The Zook

    The Zook New Member

    Isn't that a Progress? :D
     
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  9. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    There were some early Super Speed variations that used leftover parts from the earlier Ranger Tech predecessors.

    Ranger Tech, RT/SS hybrid, 1947 SS
    [​IMG]

    An interesting note on the black tips: The top version is the only Gillette I know of that had a steel handle, yes its really steel. The black tips also came with black painted metal tips, but these are uncommon.


    These came in two styles with the razor pictured being made in 1958-1959. The earlier version 1954-1957 had a higher band. The same change in the band position was reflected in the normal SS's as well.

    1954-1957, 1958-1959
    [​IMG]

    The date codes for razors started in 1950 with a 3rd quarter prototype code. All Gillette's after 1951, W-1 code, should be date coded.

    1950 Super Speed
    [​IMG]

    Here's a closeup of the head designs.


    [​IMG]

    Great writeup!
     
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  10. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    Thanks for posting this one, Chris! I went and looked at the two I own, and I have one of each! I never noticed that variation before.


    Great write-up Guido! Very informative! :happy088
     
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  11. Hiya Guido,

    Hey, thanks for posting that here........I learned a few things myself. The superspeeds aren't for my face (sadly), but I do like looking at the pics.....heh.

    Thanks you also Chris for the extra bit of info.

    This will come in handy here,
    Martin
     
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  12. rodd

    rodd Knotty Boy

    Thanks Guido!
     
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  13. SuperSpeed

    SuperSpeed New Member

    GREAT Post! THANK YOU!!!

    EXCELLENT thread with outstanding pictures! ;)

    Being a big fan of Super Speeds (surprised? :happy102)...I wanted to add a couple of nuances. It's late here on the East Coast, I'm not sure of the exact dates, and I have no pictures, but:

    1) The flared TTO knobs are attached to the handles with a newer "C-Clip" instead of the bolt with proprietary head design (4 slots) in the late 1950s models onward (1958-1959?).

    2) The side trim plates over thicker supports were replaced by thinner but solid pieces around this same time (1960?).

    Wonderful information, thank you all :D

    --Morrie
     
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  14. Padron

    Padron Active Member


    What he said! :) it's stuck ;)

    Thanks Guido for the most informative posts and great photos! :happy096
     
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  15. SlagleRock

    SlagleRock Member

    Excellent Guide! Great Post!
     
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  16. Mr.Gentleman

    Mr.Gentleman New Member

    Wow! This is very interesting thread.

    I bought '55 Red tip on bay... Can you tell me how much this red tip would cost (after you)?
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. Queen of Blades

    Queen of Blades Mistress of Mischief Staff Member

    Moderator Supporting Vendor
    Worth is determined by the buyer.

    Congrats on the razor, though. Looks like it's in good shape.
     
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  18. rodd

    rodd Knotty Boy

    wow, the paint looks great!
     
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  19. Mr.Gentleman

    Mr.Gentleman New Member

    i got it for US $15.50

    was this price ok?
     
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  20. AsylumGuido

    AsylumGuido New Member

    That price is unreal! It is not unheard of to see Red Tips with perfect paint like that one go for $35 shipped. User grade (poor paint but otherwise very good shape) ones commonly go for more than what you paid for that one. You were probably able to take advantage of a combination of a poor economy and a pre-Christmas slowdown. I have heard many people say they are waiting until after Christmas to make shaving purchases. Good deal!
     

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