Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by MTgrayling, Dec 1, 2008.
thank you Douglas..
Gary, that’s gorgeous!
thank you Jim..
Damn fine shavers
My British Flair Tip "Gap" razors.....
Thanks (just trying to stir things up with a quick quip). I too am guilty of loosely throwing around the "Rocket" descriptor. It may not be historically correct but everybody (most) knows what is being referenced. I somewhat blame the Brits and (King) for all this confusion. Having said that I forgive those old Limey engineers because they made such spiffy razors (especially that #15 Aristocat) which I have one en route over the pond as we speak.
I have to do an obligatory pedantic post on what Rocket razors really are. There is the way collectors define them which is any razor usually British that has a specific type of TTO knob. Then there is the way Gillette defined it as a type of set and not razor. The term Rocket actually sources from Canadian Gillette sets and not British either. In the case of Canadian Rockets it denotes a various styles of cases and razors and for British Rockets on a single style of case with various razors. The Canadian Rocket sets were sold as either Rockets with a nickel plated razor or a Deluxe set with a gold plated razor and were sold between 1949 - 1956. The British Rockets sets were numbered as N054 and sold between 1954 and 1958, they were also sold again in 1962 as a No54a set.
Now on to the actual razors packaged with the sets. Some quick trivia, only 1 razor was sold as both a Canadian and British Rocket and only 1 razor can be correctly called a Rocket and only a Rocket since it was never packaged in any other set unlike the rest of the razors. Information may not be complete and is subject to revision.
First we will start with the Canadian Rockets which came in 4 styles of cases. I'll list the cases and types of razors known to have been sold in each Then I'll do the same for the British sets.
First is the cardboard boxes sold in 1949 and 1950. These only came with one style of razor.
This razor was also sold as an Aristocrat Jr in England during the same time frame. The razor was only offered as in nickel plating in these sets. The key feature is the flat style base plate and notched center bar.
The next case style was the red styrene cases sold from 1950 - 1952 and with Christmas sets between 1952 - 1954. These came with 3 styles of razors with various plating option.
Father's day ad from 1952 showing this style of case still being sold.
First style of razor was only offered in 1950 and was also sold as an Aristocrat Jr in England during the same time frame. The razor was only offered as in nickel plating in these sets. The key feature is the flat style base plate and notched center bar.
Second style was offered in 1950/51 and was also sold as an Aristocrat Jr in England during the same time frame. The razor was offered in nickel plating. The key feature is the diamond stamped base plate and the base plate will say patent pending. If it has a patent number it is a 54/55 or later and puts it out of the production range.
The third style is based on an American Super Speed and was sold in this style of case in 1951 - 52. This razor is the only one that is unique to Rocket sets and doesn't show up elsewhere. The key features that distinguish it from an American Super Speed is the lack of made in the USA stamped on the base plate and lacks any patent info stamped on the base plate. The ones offered with this case only came nickel plated.
The third style case was sold from 1952 - 1956. The regular sets came with a nickel plated razor and the Deluxe sets a gold plated version of the same. This style of case came with 1 style of razor.
Under side of the case will say made in Canada which is how to differeniate the case from the American made Super Speed cases.
Ad from the Vancouver Sun Oct. 31st 1952
Ad from last known production year of 1956
1st and only style is based on an American Super Speed and was sold in this style of case in 1952 - 56. This razor is the only one that is unique to Rocket sets and doesn't show up elsewhere. The key features that distinguish it from an American Super Speed is the lack of made in the USA stamped on the base plate and lacks any patent info stamped on the base plate. The ones offered with this case came nickel plated or gold plated when offered in a Deluxe set.
Now onto the British sets. Both sets share the same style case which is unique to British Rocket sets.
1st the No54 which was produced between 1953 - 1958. My research came up with these were only offered in brass and only nickel plated. The aluminum ones were offered in the No 52a anniversary sets along side the coronation sets in 1953 up until at least February and by September the 52a sets had been discontinued and replaced the no 54 Rocket set. The razor in 1953 - 58 sets was also offered in other sets that were not Rockets during this time frame, most notably the No 59 sets. the 54 and 54a sets only came with 1 style of razor for each.
Here is an ad showing they were still selling the No52a Anniversary sets with an aluminum razor in 1953 along side the coronation sets.
Here is the earliest instance I know of dated to Sept. 53 showing the no 54 Rocket set.
Here is an ad from 1956 showing the No 54 Rocket set and No 59 set with the same razor but not billed as a Rocket
Now for a No54 Rocket set. The razors in 1954/55 sets would have patent pending on the razor and the ones from 54/55 - 58 patent number 694093 on them. I haven't confirmed but I am pretty sure these only came in nickel plating. Any gold plated ones with the patent information on them most likely were sold in a different set than the No 54.
The second British Rocket was sold in 1962 as a No 54a or as a twin Christmas pack . The key feature of the razor is the diamond stamped base plate and the base plate will be stamped with a patent number of 694093. If it says patent pending it is the wrong razor from a production standpoint since those were produced from 51 - 54/55.
As can be seen here the razor was also offered as a Christmas twin pack in 1962.
awesome collection..i still call them flare tip rockets,it's the easiest way to distinguish them from other versions..people who know the difference instantly know..blame the collectors for naming them incorrectly..
Naw I think we will just blame you instead. More fun that way.
I agree. I was just throwning the "Gap" in there to stir things up. In my head it still a Rocket. However. I must admit that based on ad evidence I finally quit calling the Rhodium Flair Tip (in Set #80) a TV Special. The set #80 I picked up from the UK several years ago was sold as a "TV Special" so these terms seem to extend across the pond.
awesome set..i have one but no case so it could be yours or the traveller razor..i moved my others on and kept only the rhodium one,the gold presentation set and and a brit flare tip superspeed.i loved the red tip rocket but didn't use it enough to keep it.part of a trade i got this from Australia..
1954/5 aristocrat jr.well most call it a #58 but here's that one ad that stirs the pot....you decide..
here is another ,later date and partial ad..just realised this was the one Ryan had already..
To ad(d) to the fray. I never noticed this until now the Canadian Rocket sets from 1962 was misdated in the newspapers.com archives. You can clearly see the ad is actually from 1952.
Yeah all it means is the actual production dates were from 1949 - 1956. We can scrap 1962 from the Canadian Rocket timeline.
One other tidbit relating to Canadian razors. The first instance of a Super Speed being sold there was 1955. You can also see they are American versions and not the British versions by the style of end caps. You can also see they are the flare tip versions which means the 40s style Super Speed were never sold in Canada as a Super Speed along side the Rocket sets. Besides being distinctly stamped differently they also shave differently, the 40s Super Speed style Rocket razors are milder and shave similar to a black tip super speed.
did you see the near 1 year difference between the #58 aristocrat jr ads?both australian christmas ads..
Yep just waiting on you to repost it over on the other thread.
ok posted in the aristocrat jr thread..
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