Brass Gillette razor

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Tarant, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Tarant

    Tarant New Member

    Hello, I recently picked up this razor an antique shop and would like some info on it.

    From what i can tell it is brass, (at one time may have had a gold coating) Old Type, open comb, solid ball type.

    Somthings I would like to know is, How old is it? and how aggressive is it?.
    I am a DE Wet shaving noob and am just wondering if I should even try to shave with it now, I have a Merkur 23c now.

    Also the handle is split up near the head, Can I just solder the parts back together.

    I will get pics up asap.


  2. IAmTheJody

    IAmTheJody Gillette-i Master

    Yes, all early Gillette razors were plated brass from their beginning in 1904 until about the late 1930s. If there's no serial number on it anywhere, most likely it's from the 1920s. Cracks, splits and hairline fractures are common in these older Gillettes as the brass wasn't mixed right. Even never-used ones often cracked/fractured just from age. I've never tried to fix a crack so I couldn't give you any insight there.
  3. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    You are correct that it is a ball end, old type which is an open comb.

    Like Jody said, this one would have been likely made in the 20's.

    Yes, the cracked handle can be soldered together. If it is a small crack it doesn't affect much. If the crack is large enough then the pieces of the handle may fall out. Those can be epoxied in as well.

    In regards to how it shaves, this is one of the more aggressive Gillette 3 piece razors. Some love these, and some find them too aggressive. They aren't that bad. However, if you are just starting out, I would suggest sticking to the Merkur until you have your technique down before beginning razor hopping. Now, if you have been at it for a while, then try it out.
  4. Oldguy

    Oldguy Member

    Actually the razors were made from solid brass, not plated. They were then plated with gold, silver, nickel or combinations of these metals. Some of the razor caps, especially from the "New" razors in the late '30's were made of copper and then plated.

    The cracked handles of the Old Type and the New Improved were the result of poor heat treating which made the tubes brittle. The press fit of the end caps then stresses the tubing causing it to eventually split. I'm able to fix cracked handles with epoxy so at least the ends don't come off.

  5. Strohman

    Strohman Member

    Gillette Old Type from the early 1920's.
    I have one of these and it still gives a nice shave, but it is slightly aggressive. I do like it though!

    A slight crack is pretty common for these razors. If it can stay together during a shave, I woudn't mess with it at all. If the head is coming off the handle, then I would try the epoxy.

    Looks like it's in real nice condition!
  6. IAmTheJody

    IAmTheJody Gillette-i Master

    Wouldn't that be plated brass? :happy102
    Herm2502 likes this.
  7. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    Aaaaaaaaaaah maybe!
  8. Shep

    Shep The Shep Abides

    Your questions have pretty much been answered, but I'm going to throw in my .02 for this razor. I have one from 1925 that looks nearly the same as yours 'cept I don't have the ball end and the teeth on mine are a bit thicker (though that could just be a trick of photography making yours look thin). Anyway I love, love, love this razor. It's my favorite. Balance and weight are perfect, head geometry just right, mine only has a tiny hairline fracture that doesn't affect anything. Shaves comfortably. You've got a great razor there. Plus it's pretty darn cool shaving something that was in use during WW1. You've got history in your hands!
  9. Tarant

    Tarant New Member

    Thanks everyone.

    I knew it was old but never thought 1920's, The razor is well used but has been well cared for. All the comb teeth are straight, not deep scratches, And aside from a few dings and the crack(I soldered the handle to the neck, the crack was so bad the head would not stay on the handle) It is in great condtion for being so old.

    Shep, I am thrilled to have this part of history in my possession,

    I will be using my Merkur till I get my technique down.

    Thanks again.
  10. MRast01

    MRast01 Well-Known Member

    Great razor, and yes it's aggressive. I believe it's the most aggressive razor that I own, but I usually get my best shaves out of one of these beauties. It's prob. not a bad idea to wait until you feel that you have your technique down to load it up, but I would imagine that it'll have a happy place in your den when you do.
  11. Gibbs

    Gibbs Member

    I have one as well, that was given to me. It was kind of dark brown when I got it but I cleaned it up and polished it on my lether 1x30 belt (belt sander) and now it SHINES! Came in a little tin box, and was called a traveling razor I believe. Nice to have these old shavers. Oldest thing I've used to shave with is a Straight I bought for 15.00, a Ramapo Co made in or around Jersey City, 1854. Imagine shaving with something that might have shaved someone during the Civil War!

    Your razor looks GREAT compared to the one I was given, and I am sure that it will give great shaves as well as any other Gillette. Now, if it's a bit on the aggressive side, would you want to use a blade other than a Feather that is 10 for sharp on a scale of 1 to 10? Say something like a Persona Platinum or the like?

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