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. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives Future Root Beer King of Turkey

    I have a '52 Black Tip with the Steel handle and base-plate...I can't say enough good things about it...Wrote a review in the review section...Heres a picture from Country Joe that I believe is the one Stingraysrock/Jeff gave me for my Birth-Year/Birthday gift last year...Or identicle to it...

    Say Crackstar/Jeff, is your 50's SS, one with the Flair-Tip or an earlier 40's style ??

    Attached Files:

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  2. gorgo2

    gorgo2 geezerhood

    My black tip shaves ok but the action on the knob is very, very stiff...I think it's the kind without the washer, so it's harder to turn than it should be. Shavewise, I still give the edge to how the Ranger shaved a few weeks ago (or how I recall it shaving, anyway).
  3. crackstar

    crackstar Israeli Ambassador to TSD

    Mine is I believe, an earlier 40's style. It hasn't hot the black on the handle.
  4. Bird Lives

    Bird Lives Future Root Beer King of Turkey

    gorgo-All the 40's style SS's should be in the same ballpark, but because of all the time since they came out...howmuch use, or how well they were taken care drop can change the aggressiveness...either up or Black Tip is actually a little on the aggressive side. I don't know if thats normal, but I like it...So I think they are all pretty consistant as far as quality build and with good technique, they all are capable of great shaves...I wish you good luck on finding another Ranger quickly, and if you do I hope it shaves as good or better than your last...I know I've seen two go through the Classifieds since Christmas, I believe...My uncle got a Ranger Tech before WWII that he said was more aggressive than the regular SS's that came out after the war, but when he got another one years later he said it was very mild, more like his Flair tip...Good luck, I think they are very hip razors, nice looking and loaded with nostalgic charm...very hip.
    Also when I first recieved my Black Tip, the TTO knob was hard to turn, but a few drops of a really fine oil, I used trumpet valve oil...into the hole in the center of the base-plate, from the top and turning the knob back and forth freed it right up, and now its smooth as glass...

    And Jeff, if you have a 40's style it would look like mine only the TTO knob would be nickle plated brass...the '55 on had the flair tips, either Blue, Nickle or Red...I'm curious which you have because I think both are great, but the Flair tips are diffinately a little less aggressive. So this might influence your blade choices...
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  5. dadvest

    dadvest Active Member


    I just bookmarked this for future study! Excellent post and very useful! Thank you for sharing! I do have a question that I bet you know. What is the proper color of the red on the Red Tip? I would love to touch up mine. Not much is missing but it is in such good condition that I would like to touch it up for myself.
  6. Dridecker

    Dridecker Sherlock

    I've read that Krylon's International Harvester Red is a spot on color match.
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  7. paydepst

    paydepst Member

    Nice one Chris!
  8. alex2363

    alex2363 Member

    great info Rick, thanks
  9. steelman1982

    steelman1982 New Member

    I have a 1954 1955 1958tv love them all even with eg blades
  10. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    "eg" blades?
  11. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    As a new vintage Gillette collector, this post has been extremely informative, thank you.
  12. Halvor

    Halvor Well-Known Member

    Nice write-up indeed!

    I have seen several recommend the SS in its early iterations. My SS is my birth year razor (1978), which is probably second to last of its iterations, and I cannot say that it shaves well. Anyone with experience with this and earlier ones - will I likely enjoy the 40s or 50s versions?
  13. Primotenore

    Primotenore missed opera tunity

    Article Team
    I have a few from the 40' and 50's. They are well made, easy to wield and shave great.
    RaZorBurn123 likes this.
  14. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    I have not seen this post before. I'm glad it's been resurrected as this contains excellent information, with much of it unknown to me prior to now.
  15. dragonhf

    dragonhf Member

    Is it only me? I can´t see the first post´s photo.
  16. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    You are correct. His account with his photo server expired.
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  17. kfbrady

    kfbrady Well-Known Member

    This thread, and AsylumGuido's are both really excellent and provide just about everything one needs to know about Gillette Super Speeds.

    I know that the last posting was a while ago, but at the risk of reviving a zombie I'd like to add just a few small points based on the examples I have. Many members here have a much larger collection than I do and many know a lot more than I do about these razors, so I'll try to keep this as brief as I can.

    1) Especially with regular Flare Tips, the earlier razors are heavier than the later ones. Probably this was to save costs, but over the lifespan of the regular Flare Tip it went from 58grams in the mid '50s to 56g in the late '50s, to 54g in the mid '60s and finally to 48g for the black handled model the mid 70's. (I'm not including the 64g Red Tip or 42g Blue Tip here as they were special cases.)

    2) I think we all know that the head profile changed in the early '60s but Gillette also changed the hinge tabs in 1964, as they also did with the Slim Adjustable. As Glenn Conti states on his excellent website, the hinge tab change was probably done to improve the door opening by offering less chance of a jam.


    The razor on the left is a 1955 A1 Regular Flare Tip while the one on the right is a 1965 K4. Note also that the earlier razor has the higher domed '50s head and has more metal in the ends of the base plate, which probably accounts for most of the 4g weight difference.

    If we add a 1976 V2 Black Handle Flare Tip we can see the same "improved" hinge tabs and a further reduction in the base plate metal...


    3) Regarding the '76 Black Handle I have, put next to my 1955 I think you can begin to see that its base plate is losing its diamond shape. As mentioned earlier in this thread, by 1979 the shape had gone to a complete rectangle...


    4) For the sake of completeness - and as I didn't notice a photo on any of the previous threads - here's the difference between the retainer screw with its 4 slots that was lost in 1958, and the crimp that replaced it...


    The earlier tip looks a bit more substantial too.

    And finally, my small collection of Super Speeds...


    The left column has a '49 NDC, a '52 X4, a '55 A1, a '56 B2 Red Tip and a '76 V@ Black Handle.

    The right column has a '51 W3 Aluminum Handle Black Tip, a '52 X2 Steel Handle Black Tip, a '56 B3 Blue Tip, a '58 D2 TV Special and a '65 K4.

    Fun stuff! :)

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  18. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    There is a way to narrow down even further what years the US 40's style super speeds were made without the date codes besides the notches on the center bar. 1947 the center bar is straight on the sides. In 1948 they added a notch on the sides of the center bar for easier blade loading from the dispensers. 1948 and 1949 the top side of the head will also read PAT NOS ON PACKAGE while in 1950 that changed to PAT NOS ON PKG.

    I don't have a 47 in the collection to confirm but from pictures I've seen I don't think 47's had any markings on the top side of the head which would be another way to differentiate a notched 47 from a 48/49 if that is when then started notching the center bars.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  19. BBS

    BBS Well-Known Member

    After doing some research I think this is about as best I can date the evolution from US made Ranger Techs to the date coded 40s style super speeds without the date codes leaving out things like retail packaging, end caps and blades.
    As far as I can tell the US made Milord is a gold plated version of the ranger tech / super speed and follows the same progression year to year they both were in production.

    US timeline based upon known examples

    40 - 41 Milord doesn't have the PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head. PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on band above TTO knob.
    41 Ranger Tech, doesn't have the PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head. PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on band above TTO knob.
    46 Ranger Tech has the PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head. No PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on band above TTO knob.
    46 Milord has PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head. No PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on band above TTO knob.
    47 Super Speed first year, 2 styles without notched center bar and w/notched center bar, PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head for both.
    47 Milord new fully knurled handle like Super Speed, 2 styles without notched center bar and w/notched center bar, PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head for both.*
    48 - 49 Super Speed w/notched center bar, PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head.
    48 - 49 Milord w/notched center bar, PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head.
    50 Super Speed Transition from PAT NOS ON PACKAGE to PAT NOS ON PKG on the top side of the head most likely transition would be between V2 and V3**
    50 Super Speed 3 styles, PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head w/o date code, PAT NOS ON PKG on the top side of the head w/ date code V3 and w/o date codes.
    49? Milord US SS style production ends. Did they still use the Milord name with the SS Rocket style handles?
    49 - 50 Milord style change. Limited run? before product line ended. British SS Rocket style handles PAT NOS ON PACKAGE on the top side of the head w/o date code.***

    Though not in the same family the same evolution from no notch to notches, no markings on top side of the head to markings on top side of head and subsequent marking changes follows suite with US made Aristocrat TTO models during the same production years. The one off as far as I know US made Aristocrat junior was only produced in 1947 and is easy enough to identify by the handle only. ****

    For completest purposes information on the first gen of US made TTO razors which were all open comb models spanning for 1934 -39 and possibly as far into 41.

    * See for an example of a hybrid Milord. solid guard bar/1947 Milord.JPG
    **See kfbrady's post in this thread
    examples of the 3 1950 styles, store display differences aka cases and blades from known 49 and 50 examples confirms transition year
    Style 1 solid guard bar/1950 (V2 on blade) Super-Speed.JPG
    Style 2 solid guard bar/1950 Super-Speed.JPG
    Style 3 solid guard bar/1950 (V3) Super-Speed.JPG
    *** 49 - 50 timeline based upon known examples and cases they've been found in.
    example solid guard bar/1950 US Rocket.JPG
    **** Aristocrat junior identification
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
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  20. kfbrady

    kfbrady Well-Known Member

    Another subtle difference between 1949 and 1950 Super Speeds is in the red styrene cases they were sold in.

    The 1949 cases are simpler while the 1950 cases have vertical slots on the sides of the clear lid and the red lower case to better fit the wire racks the razors were often stacked in and sold from. (See this thread)

    The 1950 cases also have a higher wall to the blade dispenser compartment and internal tabs that support the razor head just a bit more securely...


    Of course, I think I've seen more of these razors for sale in the wrong case than in the right one!
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