Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Ron R, Nov 8, 2018.


Pick the Gem you like shaving with, multiple choices allowed for different models!

  1. Gem Lather catcher

    10 vote(s)
  2. Gem Junior

    14 vote(s)
  3. Gem 1912 Damaskeene

    18 vote(s)
  4. Gem Micro Matic clog proof

    20 vote(s)
  5. Gem Micro Matic Bullet handle (flying wing)

    15 vote(s)
  6. Gem Micro Matic Open comb

    24 vote(s)
  7. Gem Push button

    12 vote(s)
  8. Gem G- Bar

    19 vote(s)
  9. Gem Feather weight

    11 vote(s)
  10. Gem Contour

    7 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. BigMark83

    BigMark83 [...........] this space intentionally left blank

    What do you mean by "positive blade exposure"?

    Sent from my Nokia 6.1 using Tapatalk
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  2. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    It's a defined term, positive means extending beyond the shaving plane [​IMG]
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  3. BigMark83

    BigMark83 [...........] this space intentionally left blank

    How does this factor into "aggression"? Positively, I'm assuming?
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  4. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Positively yes. Super aggressive razors like the Ikon Tech get their aggressiveness from exposure, not gap.
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  5. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Adding to the conversation about the base plate bumps that were added to the micromatics and other later models , they do raise the angle of the blade a little more than I thought it would.
    The older blades did have a thicker spline but not this much clearance underneath, I have a older blade and of coarse the better newer Personna SS Ptfe blades.
    I have two MMOC razors and one has the bumps and the other with out bumps. I think the A.S.R company engineers wanted a more lifting angle for spline inperfections and possibly a better and smoother less aggressive shave is the reasoning IMO.
    comparing two MMOC (2).jpg
    with bumps.jpg
    razor bumps 2.jpg
    As you can see the bumps lift the GEM Personna SS PTFE a lot more.(both pictures of comparing are using the same Personna SS PTFE blade.)
    It should make a little difference in angle of approach to technique while shaving IMO.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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  6. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't the dimples also make the blade more rigid? Might not matter with the double edge blade if they laid flat.
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  7. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Well I did something different this morning and had a show down with two MMOC's, one being bumpless and the other with the bumps.
    I used the bumpless on the stubborn whisker side and the other with bumps on not as ornery side. The conclusion like so many others have noticed not much if at all a difference. But audio feedback on the one with the bumps did seem louder in IMO. Switched the same blade also into the two razors alternating to make the little show down even!
    Still a great razor either model and a nice shaver, thinking of buying a 100 blades in the near future because they are a bargin IMO at Connaughts.
    comparing two MMOC (2).jpg razor bumps 2.jpg with bumps.jpg
    Have some great GEM shaves!
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  8. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Tomorrow blind fold yourself and shave with both again and see if you duplicate your experience. Be careful. :)
    Ron R likes this.
  9. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Gem is a survivor because their products are very good and have had to change hands a few times but they still make excellent razor blades and the old models are a test to quality that can still be bought for a very reasonable price at Antique stores or on line. Personna(remnants of ASR) still manufactures SE,DE, disposable razors and medical & industrial blades.
    Some more History of GEM!

    American Safety Razor Cuts Corporate Strings

    By Jerry S. Knight
    October 23, 1977

    "Big companies don't breed entrepreneurs." said John Baker, president of America Safety Razor. "They don't encourage you to take risks."

    After nine years with Philip Morris, Inc., and more years than what with General Electric, Baker an eight co-workers are learning to be entreprenuers.

    They've taken a $16 million risk by buying the company they work for, American Safety Razor, from Philip Morris which decided there was more money to be made in cigarettes and beer than in razor blades.

    The apprentice entrepreneurs, all former corporate climbers, bought out their old bosses effective Oct. 1, using a package of low-cost government financing, high-interest bank loans, and $600,000 of their own money.

    "None of us is rich; we've worked for salaries all our lives," said Richard Bonin, vice president, operations. For Bonin, raising his investment "meant selling stock, selling out my interest in a partnership, and taking out a $25,000 second mortgage on my house - and I've got three kids in schoolThat's typical of the way the members of the American Safety Razor management got their money, and American Safety Razor is typical of the trend toward employees buying their business, said John R. Davis, the San Francisco investment banker who put the deal together.

    Davis is vice president of Bangert, Dawes. Reade, Davis and Thom. Inc. Since 1975 when they helped employees of South Bend Lathe Co. buy their firm from Amsted, Inc., the company has helped workers from half a dozen firms become their own bosses.

    The companies, all of which were in danger of closing when the employees took over, have survived and prospered as employee-managed and crowd businesses, said Davis.

    An employee takeover can work because the people who buy the company are the ones who run it, said Baker. "We've running for our selves," not for a big company that has a questionable commitment to the business, he explained.
    Philip Morris once had hoped that its razor blade division could challenge Gillette and Shick for dominance in the $300-to $400-million-a-year shaving market with its Personna, Gem, Blue Star and the Flicker women's razor.

    Investments in new machinery during the 1960s and early '70s enabled the plant in Verona, a suburb of Staunton, to turn out baldes as good as anybody's. American Safety Razor became the Number One supplier (annual sales were $10 million) of industrial cutting edges for clothing, carpet and other uses, the Number Two company ($1 million a year) in disposible surgical blades, and a major supplier of private-label razor blades.

    But with an advertising budget one-tenth the size of Gillette's, the company never captured more than 12 or 14 per cent of the total market. Total sales last year hit $42 million and profits regularly ran in the range of $1 million to $1.5 million.

    As Philip Morris grew, the razor blade business became less important, amounting to barely 1 per cent of corporate revenues. It was no secret the firm was looking for a buyer.

    Last year a likely prospect came along. Bic, the French maker of cheap ballpoints and disposable lighters, wanted to market a throwaway razor in the United States.

    "They came to us as a supplier of blades." recalled Bonin, head man at Staunton plant. "But we all suspected there was more to it than that." Baron Marcel Bich - whose hobbies included piloting the French America's Cup challenger - came to Staunton: Staunton staffers went to France and last December a marriage was proposed.

    Philip Morris would sell for $16765 million and Bic would enter the American shaving market with its own plant a full product line and plenty of money."We finally had someone to compete with Gillette." said Bonin. Everyone was happy.

    Everyone but the Federal Trade Commission As FIC lawyers saw it, the deal was not strengthening competition in the razor blade business, it was stifling it. The government contended the acquisition would reduce the number of blade makers from five - Gillette, Shick, Wilkinson Sword, American and Bic - to four.

    Bic argued tht it couldn't be considered a part of the market because it had yet to sell its first razor in America and the acquisition would turn an alsoran in razor blades into the leading contender. Philip Morris lawyers said the company had been trying for years to unload the blades business; if Bic couldn't buy it, nobody else would either. If it couldn't be sold, the division sooner ot later would be liquidated, they warned.

    The FTC was adament; the deal was off.

    hat was in February, a bleak time in Staunton. The demoralized sales force - facing the likelihood of losing jobs if the company were sold to Bic and the certainty of losing them if it were liquidated - simply stopped selling.
    Five consecutive years of profits melted into red ink. The layoffs were massive: Ninety-four salaried workers were permanently cut, 175 hourly workers were laid off indefintely, and the 100-man sales staff was slashed to 30.

    Philip Morris made its threat to close the division an order, telling Baker to plan for an orderly run-through of inventories and termination of the business within three or four years unless another buyer could be found.

    One competitor openly set up an interviewing office in a local motel; even Baker and Bonin were offered other jobs. "Knowing I was still marketable at 51 was about the only thing encouraging that happened," recalled Bonin.

    Several potential purchasers said "no thanks," and efforts to find financing to allow the management to buy the company were fruitless until Baker got a phone call from Davis. The San Francisco investment banker had read about the company and thought it looked like a candidate for an employee buy-out.

    When Philip Morris said it would sell, at the price offered by Bic, and gave the managers permission to pursue the deal on company time, a management team to buy and run the company was assembled.

    Besides Baker and Bonin, the group includes J. Gray Ferguson, 39, vice president, manufacturing; Robert H. Ford, 48, vice president and field sales manager, Allan D. Goldenberg, 38, vice president and director of sales; Thomas W. Greene, 36, vice president and field sales manager, Paul H. Johnson, 49, vice president and director of field sales; Martin Lightsay, 34, vice president, engineering and Peter A. Milone, 56, vice president, marketing.

    For Goldenberg, the opportunity meant becoming his own boss in the only job he'd ever had and a chance to own a piece of "the family firm."

    "I'd worked here for 15 years. My father worked for the company for 42 years and my mother for 15 years. I only wish my father had lived long enough to see it," he said.

    The nine men formed a company and called it CIB - the opposite of Bic - because at that time the name American Safety Razor belonged to Philip Morris. When the deal was signed on Oct. 1 and the name acquired, the lawyers began paperwork to change the name to American Safety Razor Co.

    Davis arranged the financing on a contingency fee basis. He and his clients declined to discuss the amount.

    In an interview last week when he was an in Staunton, Davis said his company usually is hired by firms that want to sell an underproductive operation or dispose of a line of business not closely related to other enterprises. This case was different because Philip Morris did not instigate the sale to the employees.

    There are two ways to go with a company like American Safety Razor, he explained. A small management group can buy it, using some equity capital and a lot of loans, or the entire work force can acquire it through a trust and a federally guaranteed Employee Stock Ownership Plan.

    In either case, relatively little "hard money" is required, Davis is said, though most deals do not match the 25-1 leverage of the American Safety Razor management buyers.

    The nine men raised a total $600,000, and much of that had to be borrowed. Bonin declined to specify the size of the individual investments, but said no one owns more than 25 per cent of the company.

    If the buyers' life savings were the conerstone of the deal, federal financing was the keystone - a $6 million loan through the Economic Development Authority, which finances business development in areas of high unemployment. The 450 layoffs at American Safety Razor and the threat of more lost jobs if the plant closed qualified the Staunton area for the money. The federal government granted funds to the state, which then made a 25'year loan at 3 per cent interest to the company. A similar program provided another loan of $250,000 at the same terms.

    Private financing came dear - 3 3/4 per cent over prime for a 7 1/2 year loan of $3 million, plus a $6 million line of credit. Inventories were drawn down since the company was evaluated for the Bic sale, so little of the credit line has been needed, Baker said.

    Because the interest charges are so high, Davis already is seeking new financing. "That's typical," he said. "You get the company going and showing some profits and then you look for a better deal."

    Baker said the company is operating profitably. "We knew it would; we knew it had to or we would run through our money darn fast," he said.
  10. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

  11. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    I'm gonna put this here because it's as good a place as any. Waits pegs introduction of the Clog-Pruf as being c1941. This is wrong. May 1940.

    Brooklyn Daily Eagle May 24, 1940

    Los Angeles Times May 29, 1940

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
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  12. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Here's another that's been bugging me, the Waits entry for the G-Bar he indicates to be 1933 (because he found one in an NRA case). That's nuts. April 1956.


    By 1959 it's discounted to 39 cents.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  13. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Just love looking at these ads @jmudrick and it can get confusing trying to figure dates out no doubt(referring to G&E bar) I think the G bar was MFG in England possibly and they keep the brand on these razor's like E & G because ASR controlled all of this but the brand names stayed and confusing us all 100 years later after the great merger of 1919......
    The Everready Streamline razor is a perfect example of this, MFG in England-Everready Streamline series but offshore sales were cast GEM & EVERREADY -jewel & ambassador- marketing and are very hard to find but they do exist and knowing you @jmudrick you have 1st & 2nd generation and possibly a GEM streamline model.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  14. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    The 1912 variants are certainly many and sometimes confusing. As far as the G-Bar/Heavy Flat Top I have seen nothing to suggest that the English Ever Ready version is anything but a 50s issue marketed in parallel with the Gem "natural angle" razors. The Ever Ready came in plastic cases with 50s style dispensers as did the US versions.

    No I don't have any of the Streamlines, maybe if a good deal shows up. I know a lot of people aren't that impressed with the shave which makes me reluctant to lay out large.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  15. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    Well @jmudrick I know you have a large collection of razors and assumed wrong, I bought a streamline recently and is on it's journey over the great pond to Canada. I will have to put it through it's paces and will give a report here on were I rate it and how it handles. There is not a great deal of information on this beautiful built razor. They had a 1930's version(Generation 1) and 1950's(generation 2) which seems a little more forgiving from my limited research. Any information on the Everready+Gem Streamline razor much appreciated through your research in ads much needed.
    Have some great GEM shaves!
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  16. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    Do you remember discussing why the "clog pruf" was introduced to accommodate Barbasol and other shaving creams? This ad seems to validate our opinion.
  17. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Yep sure does
  18. Chuck Naill

    Chuck Naill Well-Known Member

    So, the real name is not " heavy flat top", but simply flat top? Thanks for your time in providing these ads for us.
  19. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    "The heavy flat top" moniker shows up in adverts after the initial release as in the last one above from '59. It seems unofficial.: The Feather Weight was rebranded as the Slim-V Flat Top/Natural Angle razor in '55 in advance of the heavy Flat Top.
  20. Ron R

    Ron R Well-Known Member

    GEM blades, you just bought a nice GEM single edge razor and looking for a blade. There is not a lot of selection for these blades and that can be a blessing or possibly a hindrance to some folks.
    Basically you can go surgical stainless steel or carbon steel. Myself I like the Gem Personna SS PTFE blade but a lot of the old timers like carbon blade, their thinking they are smoother.
    GEM blade grind angles.jpg This is what the GEM blades are ground and stropped at to make this great blade work so well. The blades are approximately 3 times thicker than a DE blade so the edge has more steel backing the fine cutting area making it last longer IMO.
    Gem SS PTFE (2).jpg The Gem Personna SS PTFE blade made by ACCUTEC & is a great blade that will not rust and can be purchased at local drug stores and on line and has good blade life.
    Gem carbon blades (2).jpg The Gem Blue star is a carbon blade MFG by ACCUTEC and is liked for smoothness and has limited blade life, dry after using to prevent rusting the edge.
    Treet carbon blades (2).jpg Treet was once independent MFG and had a good carbon blade and is made by ACCUTEC now so it has good quality control but is scarcer to find.
    Pal carbon (2).jpg Pal carbon steel blades are harder to find and were at one time a reasonable blade but the quality is in question by some users from my limited research when company was going through a tough spell and could be manufactured by a new company now.

    So what blade do you use and were to get a reasonable price, you might want to buy start by buying a five or ten pack locally and try them out and then buy a larger quantity to keep costs in line with DE per shave. I started with the GEM SS PTFE blade and I think that is a excellent blade and living in Canada I'm forced to purchase on line so I use Connaught and their prices make it affordable for me to enjoy this great blade. In the USA you can still buy locally and it's getting harder to find them so folks can buy on line also.
    The GEM SS PTFE is a very sharp blade and folks find them a little harsh at first (1st or 2nd shave)so what I have done is use a milder GEM razor for the first few shaves and then go to the more aggressive GEM Razors and that has worked well for myself but I have put brand new into the MMOC and had no issues when technique is dialed in. GEM mild razors will give any razor out there a run for quality shaves so don't get thinking they are not good razors- they will give a person with good technique CCS-BBs shaves consistently from my experiences and hardly any irritation unless you have the odd pimple you scalped.
    So if you are looking for a good quality shave in SE you might want to go vintage or modern(ATT-G1 ,Blackland Sabre or PAA Starling)razors and knowing there are blades available for these razors at reasonable prices in bulk or small quantities.
    DO NOT USE HARDWARE STORE BLADES, they are not refined for shaving!
    Final Gem review Jan21-2019 (2).jpg Blade review Revision #5 Dec14-2018.jpg
    Have some great shaves!
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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