Gillette SS: Best year?

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by DesertTime, Oct 16, 2009.

  1. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    I've read on various forums that the best Gillette super speeds were made in the 40's and 50's. I've also read in a couple of places that the 1966 SS was the best Gillette made. I'm sure all of these claims were made by folks who owned and loved their SS.

    As a rule, I don't much care for "best ever" questions, but I thought it would be interesting to see what people thought -- especially since I'm in the market for one ;).

    What do you think?
  2. hunnymonster

    hunnymonster Member

    I think more people swear by the early 1950s examples... and by choice I use a 1955 or 1958 model... (or indeed a 1949)
  3. HBK42581

    HBK42581 Member

    Same here.
  4. Etoyoc

    Etoyoc Backwards

    1947 - pre date code, no blade notch..
    then the 48-53 model or the 1952 black tip
    gorgo2 likes this.
  5. TomPike

    TomPike Active Member

    I haven't shaved with a '47 yet, but do like the pre date code versions best. I've got one in a gold finish that might be my favorite. Nope, I take that back - my favorite is my first one, that came from my granddad. ;)
  6. Manos

    Manos Member

    I like the simple knurling on the handles of the 1947-1953 and TV '54 models. I haven't yet determined a consistent performance difference between the pre-1960 high-profile heads and the post-1960 low-profile heads. I like the red plastic case of my 1949 model.

    I think the actual shaves you will get from each model are remarkably similar, and that you may be better off choosing by other factors, such as the feel of the handle or the case style, if available. The nice thing about Super Speeds is that they are all excellent performers.
    gorgo2 and willc like this.
  7. jimmyfingers

    jimmyfingers Member

    I have only used the 40's SS and a few SS that were in the mid to high 50's model. I have trouble telling the difference between the 2. I don't have years of experience like some of you though.
  8. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    Looks like I'd be safe getting one from my birth year (1948)? That would be kind of cool.

    Thanks for all the excellent responses.
  9. Manos

    Manos Member

    That would be a fine choice. Keep in mind that it is hard to differentiate between a 1948, '49, and '50 Super Speed razor. The '48's came in a cardboard box, and few of those boxes seem to have survived. The '49's and '50's came in more durable red-and-clear polystyrene boxes. Some small variations in this box style may indicate the relative age of these two models.
  10. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    There's nothing on the razor to distinguish it as a 1948? In a chart I have bookmarked, there is a "T" designator for the 1948. Is that displayed somewhere on the razor? (I'm woefully ignorant about this stuff, even though I started shaving with a Gillette DE around 1964. I just bought what was in the store).
  11. Manos

    Manos Member

    Is this the chart you used? It took me some time to figure out the meaning of the note next to the year 1931. The author of that chart added letters as placeholders for the years 1930 to 1949. Those would have been the codes for those years if Gillette had been coding them. But codes were discontinued by Gillette in 1930, and were started again in 1950, courtesy Badger & Blade's Shave Wiki. There was a discussion there about the exact phrasing of the patent statement inside the head, but I don't know if a conclusive determination was made concerning age.
    Boojum1 likes this.
  12. DesertTime

    DesertTime Well-Known Member

    I couldn't follow your link, but you describe what I found. So he puts a letter in those slots that Gillette may have used, had they used a letter designator? Which they didn't.

    Thanks for the information, Manos. And thanks for explaining that chart.
  13. D.irving79

    D.irving79 Gemocrat

    i like the late 1950s model. even though i dont have one :o
  14. wchnu

    wchnu Duck Season!

    I do have a 57 that was my grandfathers.. only reason I occasionally shave with it... I do like the SS much.

  15. Michaelshane

    Michaelshane New Member

    I have the one in the cardboard box,must be a 48.
  16. AsylumGuido

    AsylumGuido New Member

    Actually, the letter/number date coding scheme was added in 1930 for use on the new NEW Blades and continued being used on all Gillette blades beyond that point. In the third quarter of 1950 a V-3 was added to a limited number of Super Speeds and Aristocrats. Beginning in 1951 with the letter W, Gillette adopted the blade dating scheme as the American standard on its razors, as well.
  17. Manos

    Manos Member

    Thank you for the clarification, AsylumGuido. I did not know that Gillette blades were coded. Where does the code appear?
  18. sas71

    sas71 Member

    SS ive shaved with:

    40's (was a pif)
    Red Tip (was a pif)
    '65 (i own it)
    early 70's black handle (owned and sold)

    i didnt get any better shave with the illustrious late 40s SS than my 65. the red tip didnt overly impress me but i do want one. the black handle i sold because i needed the money. SS were around for what 4 decades? i dont think you could go wrong with any year. i doubt id want a blue tip though.
  19. mr-razor

    mr-razor Well-Known Member

    They started in 1930 with "A1":

  20. 50z2

    50z2 New Member

    late 50s flare tip :)

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