Evolution of the Merkur Progress

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by jmudrick, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    Gillette Tech and Gillette Superspeed are both contenders for longest length of production. The tech at least was made for 80+ years.
     
  2. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Gillette Super Speed as a brand yes, as a razor no. Too much change to the design to call it a single razor. Most anyone who looked at the various Super Speeds would come to the conclusion they are not the same thing not knowing anything about razors unlike a Merkur Progress. A vintage Progress looks almost identical to a modern one.

    The Tech I think is a grey area, yes on the brand but maybe and I lean towards no because the 60s versions with the different style baseplate could be mistaken as a different razor from the earlier ones if you knew nothing about them either.
     
    PLANofMAN likes this.
  3. romsitsa

    romsitsa Active Member

    Bismarck was established in 1892, besides the emblems not much changed till today.
     
  4. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    What you show is clearly marked Merkur. Did you post the wrogn picture?
     
  5. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    That's my picture, and my razor. Pretty nice shaver.
     
  6. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    The Merkur 37 might have an even longer run. Being in the same catalogue as the first Progress means it's at least as old, and I believe the first 37's to have been produced pre-WW2.
     
  7. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    Wasn't Bismarck acquired by Dovo at one point?
     
  8. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    137BA8F7-2A3E-4383-8E83-A56A9B20465B.jpeg
    Walbusch patented an adjustable slant in 1938. The B5 later was based on this patent, as was the Progress. The adjustability differs from how the Mikron functions: The Mikron lowers/raises the safetybars, the Walbuschpatent lowers and raises the cap as well as the midle of the baseplate. Basically everything but the safetybars.
    All Walbusch razors were produced by Merkur, who made their own versions of the B3 and B5 razors (even harder to find than the Walbusch ones). The first B5-brochures/adds I've seen are from the early/mid-fifties, so more or less simultaneous, or slightly predating the Progress.
    Apart from all the differences in paint and dots, the early models counted properly, starting at 0. My 800 starts at 1 and ends at 5, with a plus in the middle, which might imply a longer production run than previously thought. Other option is they started with two different methods and later converged the two.
    At present in my collection are a gold/white bakelite and a silver/darkbrown bakelite B5, the afore mentioned 800, a gold Progress with bakelite base, a silver Progress with bakelite base, an early run Progress starting at 0, a mid 80s gold Progress, an FdR-gress (Forum der Rasur forumedition with metal replacement knob), three different Merkur that have a Progress-head yet lack adjustability, and several Merkur that have the tell-tale Progress baseplate-profile.
     
    twhite likes this.
  9. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Hoffritz was an American distributor of German made razors from the 1960s until 80s maybe early 90s. The company still exists but is now named International Cutlery and still distribute Merkur razors but online now. They are most famously known for their slant razor which is the Merkur 37c branded as a Hoffritz. They are also known as the razor James Bond used in The Man With The Golden Gun, Octopussy and The Living Daylights. I believe the Hoffritz razor James Bond used in those movies was a rebranded Merkur 11C. They also distributed razors under the Merkur name like the Progress at least until the 80s. I have one distributed by them that should have been sold sometime between 1980 - 1985.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  10. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    I think you might be the only known person in the English speaking portion of the wet shaving communities to have this razor.
     
  11. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    I'm well aware of all that, but Hoffritz sold rebranded Merkur that had the Hoffritz name on them, and no mention of Merkur on the razor. The picture I'm commenting on is a razor that only has the Merkur name on it, which imho makes it a Merkur, not a Hoffritz.

    I'm Dutch actually :)
     
  12. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Correct a Merkur razor distributed by Hoffritz as a Mekur. It would be like West Coast Shaving selling their own branded version of a Yaqi along with the same branded Yaqi razor but in their own custom case.
     
  13. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Here is my Hoffritz distributed Merkur Progress. I am going to conservatively put a date of sometime between 1980 - 84 as when it was made.

    By the font and logo saying made in Germany that puts its at pre 85. I don't know when they switched the dial from dots to dashes between the numbers or when they switched from using 0 as the lowest number setting. The numbers were originally painted red but it has mostly worn off.
    merk1.jpg merk2.jpg merk3.jpg

    Interesting is though that style of dial predates the Merkur as can be seen here on the Walbusch B5. My guess is at some point Merkur dropped the old style dials and went to the Walbusch dial sans knob color for all their adjustables.
    merk4.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  14. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    At what point did Hoffritz stop selling rebranded Merkur, any info on that?
     
  15. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Sometime in the 90s far as I know. Assume sometime between 92 and 94 about when Hoffritz company finally tanked and the brand name was bought by Lifetime Hoan.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoffritz_for_Cutlery
     
  16. efsk

    efsk Active Member

    What I meant was: when did they stop selling razors under their own name, and instead started packaging Merkur-razors in a Hoffritz box. When the one you is is early 80s, it has to be before then.
     
  17. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    That I don't know all I can say for sure is the one I have is a pre 1985 by the logo. They could have been doing both with the slants under the Hoffritz brand and adjustables under the Merkur. I'll check some newspaper ads see if I can find anything.
     
  18. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Short answer the slant DE razor 1984, mustache razor 1985 and cart style razors 1987.
     
    efsk likes this.
  19. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Last instance I found on slant razors for Hoffritz
    This is from 1984.
    1984.jpg

    By 1987 they were down to a cart type razor if that is what in the attached ad. After that Hoffritz was selling knives under their brand.
     

    Attached Files:

    efsk likes this.

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