Gillette adjustables 1958 - 1960

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by BBS, May 26, 2021.

  1. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Purpose of the thread is to document the various designs used in this short time frame on the retail level.

    Background information, the first dial adjustables Gillette put on the market for sale were the serial Toggles and known sold dates were 1956 during Fathers day and Christmas and Fathers day of 1957 in Wisconsin as the test market. Christmas of 1957 they went nation and worldwide with the second variation on the Toggle. This Toggle was only produced in 2 known production runs with date codes of D1 and F4.

    The Red Dot Fat Boy followed afterwards in 1958. The Red Dot Fat Boy even though date coded D1, it was introduced for Father's day and also sold as a promotional razor for the 1958 world series. It was sold as the cheaper $1.95 razor until right before Father's Day of 1959 before being replaced by the standard Fat Boy. The Red dot was later reintroduced for the 4th quarter of 1960.

    You then had the Fat Boy Executive adjustable come onto the market in the 3rd quarter of 1958. Even though they have date codes from D3 - E2 the first known retail dates for the standard Fat Boy is May of 59 in time for Father's Day. The theory is the first ones to market were made with excess stock of base plates made for Executives.The Standard Fat Boy replaced the Red Dot Fat Boy as Gillette's $1.95 lower cost adjustable. The more expensive options were the $5.00 Executive and $10.00 Toggle.

    The Toggle, standard Fat Boy and Executive were sold continuously through the 4th quarter of 1960. In the 4th quarter of 1960 you had the brief reintroduction of the Red Dot Fat Boy, the limited run of Bottom Dial Fat Boys and third variation on the Toggle razor. Whether the third Toggle variation superseded the second or was sold along side them is unknown to me.

    By 1961 only one design ultimately won out which was the standard Fat Boy and from that point on Gillette only had on style of razor head for any adjustable regardless of model, handle or plating until 1988 when they stopped selling adjustable razors.

    You had 3 major razor head designs in use during this time period.
    First is what I'll call the Toggle mk2 design as can be seen here. The mk1 design is designated for the serial toggles prior to 1958.
    tg1.jpg

    What makes it unique is the rectangular stamped base plate something you don't see again on an adjustable until the late 70s. It also has 5 teeth on each side of the lifter base plate.

    This razor head design is also used on the Red Dot Fat Boys with date codes D1, F4 and the Bottom Dial Fat Boys with F4 date codes.
    rd1.jpg rd2.jpg bd91.jpg bd92.jpg

    The next design is the Fat Boy design with the diamond stamped base plate and different lifter design. The Executive Fat Boy also shares the same razor head design.

    fb1.jpg ex1.jpg ex2.jpg

    The last design is the mk3 Toggle design only seen on what are called chrome toggles known to be plated in gold and nickel. They have the rectangular stamped base plates but without any teeth on them and their adjuster dials are similar in design to the bottom dial fat boy and use a clicker spring like a standard Fat boy instead of a red dot.
    gt1.jpg gt2.jpg gt3.jpg nt1.jpg nt2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
  2. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Some ads, full page ads with dates as attachments.

    Early instance of the standard Toggle being marketed for sale during the Christmas season of 1957.
    1957.jpg

    First instance I could find of the standard Fat Boy it is assumed to be the razor because of the $1.95 price tag.
    edit based upon what I know now I'd say this is actually for a Red Dot Fat Boy not a standard since they introduced them for Father's Day of 58. That would put the standard Fat Boy introduction onto the market later in the year.
    195.jpg

    Christmas of 1958 here is the Executive adjustable
    1958.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  3. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    The Red Dot Fat Boy promotional ad for the 1958 World Series.
    C 1958 Adjustable Red Dot.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  4. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    One more thing to consider with these. Even though some models share the same razor head design doesn't mean they are designed to adjust the blade to the same gap and exposures on the same dial setting. I can't speak for the Toggle designs but can say for sure the standard Fat Boy and Executive having owned and used both do not have same gap and exposures for the same dial setting. The Executive is tuned to be milder for the same dial setting from a standard Fat Boy.
     
  5. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Even though the Standard Toggle was only produced in 2 production runs with date codes D1 and F4 they were sold continously between 1958 and 1960.

    Some ads from 1959 showing Toggles for sale.
    1959us.jpg 1959aus.jpg
     
  6. Old School

    Old School *$&%@#~

    Seems like a good opportunity to open the box and let my NOS D3 Executive see daylight ;)
    [​IMG]

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  7. brit

    brit in a box

    awesome set..:cool:
     
  8. Old School

    Old School *$&%@#~

    Thanks. This one is just to be admired and gently handled :)
    I say NOS because it literally looks untouched. Being the dispenser is missing some blades, it was possibly tried out 60+ years ago...or opened because he needed blades for his old type lol.
    It is so spotless I've not used it.
    I have another D3 9/10 condition Executive in my regular rotation, and it is my go to hands down favorite.


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  9. brit

    brit in a box

    very cool.:):eatdrink047:
     
  10. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Here are 2 models I have as of this posting.

    adjt1.jpg

    My executive has a date code of F 3, the bottom dial is an F 4.
     
  11. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Here is a side by side of how each adjustment works.

    The left one which is what Toggles also use adjusts by moving the center bar slightly up to release pressure on the blade to increase gap at each setting, the one on the right aka the Fat Boy design adjusts by moving the whole base plate up or down.
    adjt2.jpg
     
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  12. Old School

    Old School *$&%@#~

    I so want a bottom dial and a toggle. I've come to the conclusion that unless I find it in the wild I'm not getting one.
    When you start into the 4 figures, I start think about project cars, not razors.
    Hence my loaded, tuned 2006 GTI I bought for $2,500 with 98,000 miles on it...or my avatar that I paid two bottom dials for :) .
    That 2002 Audi TT roadster had only 35,000 miles on it.
     
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  13. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    It depends the razor with Gillettes there always seems to be buyers for these adjustable razors, you just need to not overpay based on current market prices. If you do that you'll only be parking your money temporarily in the razor in the worst case scenario.
     
    brit likes this.
  14. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    https://gilletteadjustable.com/misc-2/adjustable-razor-blade-gaps/

    I knew it was still around on that website just that things were moved around. My personal experience using almost all those razors except for the serial, chrome toggles and 1 - 5 bottom dials which I haven't owned lines up with those conclusions if not the gap ranges in all cases. My BD 1-9 ranges from .026 through .051 which is a bit lower range but still within the .003 range between settings and STD for the adjustables.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021
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  15. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    After doing some digging I found that the Red Dot Fat Boy was first retailed to the public for Father's Day of 1958. In this case retail and production dates don't match up since D1 would correspond with Jan - Mar.
    This ad is from June 1st, 1958. Full page advert with date as attachment
    redot.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2021
  16. brit

    brit in a box

  17. Jorvaljr

    Jorvaljr Operation Daytona 8000

    I dont get or understand your point here. Wouldnt gillette have to create / manufacture / distribute prior to their advertised date? So if june was the target month of sale, i would expect a few months of build up manufacturing, and distributing. The marketing firm needs time to come up with advertising as well. So it makes sense to me to have a D1 manufacturing code and released 1 month or 2 months later.
     
  18. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    Usually people tend to go with the date code it is stamped with is when it was originally sold. Your points are valid but consider this one, the standard Toggle first came onto market around end of October or sometime November of 1957 in time for Christmas. You'd think there should be ones with C4 or even C3 date codes but as far as we know all the ones that would have been sold then were stamped with D1 date codes.
     
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  19. Jorvaljr

    Jorvaljr Operation Daytona 8000

    Oh wow, i never thought people thought date codes were associated with sold dates that seems a little bizarre to me. But then again maybe you are right. Lol im a little too simple to make sense of it all. All i know is i like me some shiny goodies!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


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  20. Jorvaljr

    Jorvaljr Operation Daytona 8000

    Oops wrong type of shiny[​IMG]


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