Henry Jacques Gaisman - Mastermind!

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by GlennConti, Aug 16, 2019.

  1. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

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  2. Rev579

    Rev579 Well-Known Member

    The articles are good references, but they reference date before the crash and might not account for the chaos that followed. While they might have new product, are the buyers? Look at the 162 & 164. Look at the Canadian Old Type Goodwill.
    While it would be cool to think I have the last 5 OT blades of the 5,318,436,976 made, I doubt it. Maybe I have 5,318,436,977 - 5,318,436,981!

    Of the years the 3-hole blades were made, I am missing 3 from 1914-1929(1915, 1924, 1926), but have none prior to 1914.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  3. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    J P Sprang Jr created a book in 1951 to commemorate the first 50 years of Gillette's existence. Look Sharp! Feel Sharp! Be Sharp! Gillette Safety Razor Company Fifty Years 1901 - 1951 for the Newcomen Society. The only things of note are in the 1920s dominated by Thomas Pelham in Sales, he characterizes them as the "Give-Away Years". Apparently the strategy to combat the loss of patent in 1921 was to give away at cost as many razors as possible. Apparently this was successful as "in the six or seven years immediately following the expiration of Gillette's patents, blade sales multiplied four times". But this strategy would not work forever and by 1930 Pelham was relieved of his chief duties as concerns sales. With advent of the New Razor and New Blade more profits needed to be made. There were costs associated with the new equipment even though it was not on the continuous strip kind that was adopted after the AutoStrop/Gillette merger. The 20's were happy years at Gillette, but the 30's were ominous. All Sprang has to note in the 30's were the adoption of the continuous strip method of blade manufacture, the introduction of the one-piece razor and the introduction of the electric dry shaver.

    gillette 1.jpg

    gillette 20.jpg gillette 21.jpg gillette 22.jpg
     
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  4. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    From the companies 75 year retrospective brochure.


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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  5. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    FWIW six of seven DE blades recommended by Consumers Union in 1938 sold for 3-5 cents a blade . None sold for "a penny or less". How well these blades sold I can't speak to but blades like Wards, Barbasol, and Marlin, recommend over Gillette, had wide distribution. You see some sales for Barbasol at less than 2 cents on sale but that was as loss leader at retailer's discretion. They were typically 5 for 15.

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    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  6. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    Yes we are getting the Gillette corporate take on things here. Interesting to note though that even at the point of only 18% market share, Gillette Co claims that to be tops of any competitor.
     
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  7. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    I don't doubt that's true but wonder how close ASR got c.1936.

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  8. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    I believe 5,318,436,976 was indeed the last blade but that blade was made Jan 6, 1930. And, that Fahey took the shave with that blade and the first old type razor made back in 1903 on that day (Jan 6, 1930). This would have been part of the hoopla included with the big sales meeting that day (Jan 6, 1930) and he declares the shave “excellent” for the press. So, I am further guessing that from January 1 to January 6, 1930 there are 3 holed blades being produced. And, there still remains a “3001” stamped 3 holed blade to be found. The last blade 5,318,436,976 would have had a “3001” stamp on it.

    PS If Gillette saved the first razor they ever produced then I believe they would have saved the last 3 holed blade ever produced. I will ask P&G for a photo of it.

    PPS Done. Hope to hear back sometime next week. Long holiday weekend coming up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
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  9. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    So, some more arcane minutia on the last production of the old-type three holed blades. This was Gillette's advertisement on December 14, 1929 in The Saturday Evening Post:

    1929-12-14-GilletteAd-SaturdayEveningPostP156.jpg

    And here are actual pictures of the 1929 Christmas Fifty Box as sold:
    Actual50Box-01.jpg

    Actual50Box-02.jpg

    Actual50Box-03.jpg

    Gillette when they are doing a big promotion and selling a ton of blades for Christmas 1929 would they have shut down blade production on October 15, 1929 until January 6 1930 when they started producing the New Blades? I don't think so.
     
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  10. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Specific dates aside (I doubt October 15) , I'll be the Gillette cynic as usual and observe they probably had lots of blade stock as they were not selling that well. And the market for $5 sets was very small in 1929 and would only get smaller after the market crash.

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  11. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    I also noticed they were selling the Fifty box for $5.00. Normally a 10 pack which retails for $1.00 sells for $.59 at the drug stores. So, Gillette gives no special deal to buy a Fifty? If they didn’t, I can’t see how their special Fifty gift box would have been a giant seller. Maybe they thought they could take advantage of the ladies or kids getting gifts that would not know the general going price for blades?

    Maybe the nice box was the “discount”?
     
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  12. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    Oh and $5.00 in 1929 is like $75.00 today using an inflation calculator. That’s rich for razor blades!!
     
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  13. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    The average person is not spending $75 for a person for a gift. That’s no stocking stuffer. Like you say the target market would be small. Maybe Gillette uses a product like the Fifty box to reinforce that their blades are positioned as high-end premium products. Or maybe the drug stores got them for a special discount like wholesale at $2.00 or $2.50 per Fifty box and passed along a discount to their customers
     
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  14. Rev579

    Rev579 Well-Known Member

    That almost matches the going rate for the Mach 3 cartridges.
     
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  15. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    The new kid in town was Schick, also offering a $5 razor at Christmas '29, blades 20 for 75 cents (one blade said to last 2-6 shaves). The New Improved being old news by '29, I definitely would have hoped for the Schick myself. Very modern style ad. Kinda Bauhaus.

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Aug 31, 2019
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  16. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    DrugStoreAd.jpg


    No heavy discounting on the "Chest of Fifty" either!!!
     
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  17. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    So, normally you pay $.06 per Gillette blade in a 5 or 10 pack not at Christmas time. But, lucky you!!! You get to pay $.09 per blade at Christmas time if you buy 50! You got to really love the box they come in if you are willing to pay 50% more each per blade. Agreed this would not be a big seller. But, what is the daily production rate for blades? With the New blade I read they had the factory running 20 hours per day and a $10 million advertising budget. Point is Gillette was making and selling lots of blades per day. Again no way the just were idle from October 15 through 1929.
     
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  18. brit

    brit Well-Known Member

    seems like today's gillette..we get to enjoy gillette's old technology for cheap today..i guess not so back in the day..sorry to interrupt..:)
     
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  19. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    Join the party for sure! Gillette’s propensity to premium pricing keeps them continually open to lower priced competitors. And a love hate relationship with their customers. Nothing has changed I guess.
     
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  20. GlennConti

    GlennConti Well-Known Member

    BladePriceComparison.jpg

    So, what I did was look at all drug store advertisements from 1929-01-01 to 1929-03-31 that I could find. The first table is sorted by MENTIONS. As you can see drug stores wanted to tout their best sellers and far and away that was Gillette with 45 mentions. AutoStrop, Wade&Butcher, Gem and EverReady are in the next tier. The second table is the same data but it is sorted by AVERAGE PRICE PER BLADE, As you can see, Gillette is actually a little cheaper than AutoStrop and not the highest priced blade - that award goes to Darwin's cobalt steel imported blade which would have had to over come a US tariff on imported blades. Of the popular brands, Gem was going for the low to mid market being about 30% cheaper than Gillette. Gem's pricing even beats the no name competitors Moredge and LuckyStroke.
     
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