Super Speed evolution....a bunch of useless info you probably don't need to know

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by MTgrayling, Nov 26, 2008.

  1. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    Since I have most of them and the thoughts were fresh in my head here's my regular SS collection in a lineup and some musings. This is just my personal rambling disquisition and isn't meant as a competition to Guido's writeup.

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    1: Ranger Tech the predecessor of all Super Speeds. Made for sale during the X-mas '41 season. Production was curtailed by America's entry into World War II.

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    2: 40's style Super Speeds. Made from 1947ish-1954 (Z-4). Thought by many to be the epitome of razor design, simple and clean lines. These had a few cases some of which are pictured below.

    There were a few of what I assume are very early Super Speeds that have Ranger Tech uncreased blade trays, I know of about a half dozen of these hybrids.

    Ranger Tech, RT/SS hybrid, 1947 SS
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    The first SS's came in cardboard boxes. The '47 not featuring the nifty zip feed dispenser.

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    The red/clear styrene case was the first plastic type Gillette employed. These were available from 1948 until 1950 I believe.

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    1950 marked the first date code, a prototype V-3. All razors made after 1951 should have date codes.

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    In 1951 and 1952 (W-1 through X-2?) Gillette in an apparent cost saving measure made some razors with aluminum or steel handles and black plastic tips. There were some metal painted tips as well. Not pictured is the aluminum handled black tip.

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    The uncommon 1954 TV, which had Z-3 and Z-4 date codes.

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    The 1953-1954 SS's came in blue and clear plastic cases that are more fragile than the hefty styrene boxes. They will commonly have the spider-web cracking in the clear top. There may have been other containers as well.

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    3: 50's style Super Speeds. Made from early 1954 until 1957 these are the popular flare tips. From 1954 (Z-1) until 1957 (C-4) they remained the same. The cases were matched for the tips, blue, tan for the silver regular, and red.

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    From 1955 (A-1) through 1959 (E-4) Gillette had a run of colored tips designed for differing beard types. Blue was light or mild beards. Sliver was regular and Red was for heavy beards. Sometime in 1957 the Red Tips got a + on either side on the handle. The Blue Tips have a O on each side.

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    Here is a photo of the high band made from 1954 until 1958 and the lower band made from 1958 through 1959.

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    Gillette had some neat promotions through the years. 1957 Fisherman's Kit

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    4: 1958-1959 Super Speeds. These had a minor change in the band which was lowered and also lost the screw retainer which was replaced with a crimped retainer. Most SS's from this point on rattle. Gillette made what look like a few trail runs of a later styling in early 1958 (D-1) that for all outwards appearances look like a 1960-1966 SS, I only know of two.


    5: In 1958 (D-1-D-4) some had a special handle design and were sold in a promotion with the Gillette Cavalcade of sports, these are the "TV Specials".

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    6: 60's style Super Speeds were made from 1960 (F-1) until 1966 (L-4?)

    The cases were white and clear squarer design than the earlier ones.

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    7: This is the lower head design that some prefer. I can't remember when the switch happened but I think there was considerable overlap for years into 1962.

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    More promotions. 1966 Vacation and Travel Kit

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    8: The first black handle Super Speed had an anodized handle and can sometimes be discolored (boiled, UV, ect.) grey. These are very grippy.

    9: The later Super Speeds have a slicker painted handle and a slightly different interior head design.

    These came, mostly, wrapped in plastic for hanging vendor displays, but some were probably cased as well.

    10: The last versions of this classic mild shaver has a diamond patterned handle, what I like to call the waffle grip. These were made into the early 80's in the US.

    Picture from eBay
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    I tried to be as accurate as possible. Some of the blade packs are not correct in some photo's. If you have anything to add or correct please let me know I love to learn about this obscure stuff!!
     
    PastorAndy914, MacDaDad, brit and 8 others like this.
  2. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    Nice write-up Chris -- thanks! Between you and Guido, I now know more than I ever did about Super Speeds!


    So, when you gonna get to the Rockets? ;)
     
  3. apswartz

    apswartz New Member

    Great write-up! Thanks!
     
  4. rodd

    rodd Knotty Boy

    Very nice write up! Thanks!

    I have a strange one for you that I haven't gotten any info on yet:

    Black handle SS, but the blade tray has a rectangle rather than the normal diamond where the handle attaches, and no "made in" stamp
     
  5. D.irving79

    D.irving79 Gemocrat

  6. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    That's what they looked like in 1979. I had an A-4 (1980) that looked exactly like that.
     
    alex2363 likes this.
  7. SuperSpeed

    SuperSpeed New Member

    VERY helpful, Chris!

    GREAT stuff...and it compliments Guido's thread superbly! ;)

    Chris, you state:

    "4: 1958-1959 Super Speeds. These had a minor change in the band which was lowered and also lost the screw retainer which was replaced with a crimped retainer. Most SS's from this point on rattle."

    ...and I referenced the retainer issue with my post in Guido's thread:

    "1) The flared TTO knobs are attached to the handles with a newer "C-Clip" instead of the bolt with proprietary head design (4 slots) in the late 1950s models onward (1958-1959?).

    2) The side trim plates over thicker supports were replaced by thinner but solid pieces around this same time (1960?)."


    I am not sure what change caused the later Super Speeds to rattle. Was it the new retainer design or could it have something to do with the replacement of the side trim plates? :confused:

    These are just a couple of nuances about the Super Speed which I have always been curious about...thank you (and Guido) for these two threads which are fascinating (well, to ME anyway :rolleyes:)

    --Morrie
     
  8. SuperSpeed

    SuperSpeed New Member

    Another question...

    For Chris (again):

    What exactly is meant by "uncreased blade trays" in your comment:

    "There were a few of what I assume are very early Super Speeds that have Ranger Tech uncreased blade trays, I know of about a half dozen of these hybrids."

    Of interest (to me) is the fact that the Ranger Tech's design omits the side trim plates entirely (like the Senators did also?). I have a couple of "cosmetically challenged" razors (Aristocrat and mid/late 1950s Super Speeds come to mind) which have lost their side trim plates. To be honest, I would prefer the side trim plates had never been added--I would LOVE to find a Ranger Tech one day to place among my Super Speed "rotation!" :cool:

    Thanks again for this helpful information on my namesake! :rolleyes:

    --Morrie
     
  9. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    Morrie,

    Here's a photo of one of the hybrids and a normal 1947 SS with the crease, or lack thereof, circled.

    RT/SS hybrid, 1947 SS
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    As for the rattling, I think it's the retainer and much prefer the solid build of the earlier SS's.
     
    PastorAndy914, brit and MacDaDad like this.
  10. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    I'm on the lookout for one of those and the waffle grip. They aren't rare, but not very common either.
     
    alex2363 likes this.
  11. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    Thanks Rick. :o

    Part of the allure of the Rocket is the mystery of their origins. :cool: I was thinking of doing a writeup but i'm still missing a few models. I do finally have all the colored Rocket's though!
     
  12. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    Really? My A4 was pristine, and I sold it to a member here for about $12. Oh, well. :D
     
  13. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    Figures! :(

    On a brighter note, and thanks to Rick, my Rocket collection is on its way to being 100% complete next week so a writeup and lots of photo's may be in order.
     
  14. rodd

    rodd Knotty Boy

    What did you score? :) I am looking forward to the write up. I have always admired your rocket collection. Are there any you are still looking for? Feel free to PM me if you don't want to create competition. ;)
     
  15. mastermute

    mastermute FatBoy

    Great post! This is what I love! "Useless" knowledge! :p

    Thanks!
     
  16. D.irving79

    D.irving79 Gemocrat

    im getting very curious about these red tip SSs. just how aggresive are they?
     
  17. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    I think these two http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=320321120239&ssPageName=STRK:MEWN:IT&ih=011 are the last pieces I needed. I even have that aluminum Rocket the gold one and the TV, red tip, blue tip and French HD. I can't think of any more, can you? I do need an aluminum #58 if you know of any.
     
  18. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    You have an adjustable, right Dave? IMHO, the Red Tip is pretty equivalent to an adjustable set on 5.
     
  19. MTgrayling

    MTgrayling Rocket Man

    I didn't know how to describe it, but that's about right. I shaved with my Toggle on 5 tonight, wonderful. The Red Tips have a much better feeling handle over a normal flare IMO.
     
  20. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    Very true. They have a thicker and heavier handle that just feels nicer in the hand. I personally think that the Red Tip is the best of the Super Speeds, but, of course, ymmv and all that!
     

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