WHY DID THEY DO IT? Tell me it ain't so!

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by Marc Bagwell, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Marc Bagwell

    Marc Bagwell Well-Known Member

    Okay, I'm the first to admit, I live with my head in a fog bank, unable to fathom anything complex. Having said this, I gotta know, why did Gillette do it? Why did they stop making the 195... aka... the FatBoy? I know there has to be a reason... right? I've shaved with so many modern and vintage razors, and there are a lot of really good razors out there, but none are as smooth as a FatBoy, at least not for me. And I'm not the only one who thinks so, judging by the FatBoy prices on eBay, I also own a Slim from back then, and it's not as good as a FatBoy.

    Does anyone know why Gillette dropped the greatest Razor in history? If so, please explain it to me.

    My Gillette FatBoy is a 1960 model, making it almost as old as myself. You should have seen it when I bought it, a refuge from an estate sale, all gummed up with caked on soap, couldn't hardly shut the doors. A bit of cleaning and it sprang back to life, working smooth and precise like the day it was first made, back when I was only two years old. Let's face it, no matter if you love vintage or hew razors, we have to admit that King Gillette knew his business.
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  2. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    I've rescued 6 or 8 #195's from thrift stores, flea markets, & estate sales. All were fully functional but for one with a stuck adjuster. Not being a hoarder (of razors. Soaps and & AS is starting to pile up in a good way) I've cleaned up, polished, lubricated, and sent all but my first one on to other shavers. I'll agree that for all the razors I've tried my '59 E4 Fat Boy gives me more error free, smooth reduction than any other DE. There may be competition from an SE or two.
  3. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Fatboy prices don't necessarily reflect demand for Fatboys as superior shaving tools but perhaps moreso their perceived status as collector's items.

    I presume Gillette introduced the Slim because it could be more cheaply produced and could be marketed as a more maneuverable razor (which it is).

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  4. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Paperboy

    Article Team
    They redesigned the head for a slimmer profile, to enable an easier shave under the nose, and extended the handle to address complaints that the handle was too short. The Slim, by any standard you care to use, is 'technically' an improvement over the Fatboy.

    That being said, I prefer the look, heft, knurling, balance, and shave of the Fatboy over the Slim.

    I also think the 1963 Stingray is the best looking Corvette, so maybe I'm biased. :p
    (Not mine, wish it was).
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2017
  5. lightcs1776

    lightcs1776 Well-Known Member

    Yep, the Stingray was a beautiful machine. I'm not all that impressed with today's cars. Most, in my opinion, lack character.

    As for the Fatboy, it is what I use every day. I don't necessarily think it is the best razor out there, but possibly one of the best for the price. I would probably be just as happy with a slim, which is what I picked up for one of my sons.

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  6. RetLEO-07

    RetLEO-07 likes his penguin deep fried, with pink sparkles

    IMG_0244.JPG I think that the SA-109 is the razor!
    But that's just me.
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  7. RaZorBurn123

    RaZorBurn123 waiting hardily...............

    Why did Gillette stop making them? Bottom line.
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  8. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    Because the more modern styling of the Slim fit more in the era?
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  9. Marc Bagwell

    Marc Bagwell Well-Known Member

    Yep, you're right. My FatBoy has an F2 date code. Some day I'll have to purchase a razor with a D date because that is my birth year. Too bad my body hasn't held up like my razor has.

    I'm certain that you're right about the slim, but for me anyway, I just don't get the same shave from it. Maybe it's just me.

    Make it a 62 model and I'm in. Lol. I hadn't thought about the handle length being a problem for some people. I guess it could be, but I've always preferred the shorter handles, like on a Merkur 34. But you're right, the 63 model is sweet. Sure beats the heck out of the new models. Cars had character back then.

    Right, nothing wrong with a slim, I've got one of those as well. The slim gives a smooth shave, I happen no one thinks I'm trying to bash it. The slim is one of the greats. For me anyhow, it's just not what a FatBoy is. I hope your son appreciated the slim you bought for him.

    A gorgeous razor, I have one just like it. Let's face it, Gillette never produced a dog of a razor. There are some that I like better than others, but they're all great shavers. I just don't understand why Gillette dumped the FatBoy after only four years. That's a very short run for a Gillette razor.
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  10. lightcs1776

    lightcs1776 Well-Known Member

    He loves the slim, thanks. I plan to get one for my last (four kids, three of them boys) when he finally gives in and starts to shave - he is in high school.

    The Fatboy I have was a gift, so that alone makes it special to me. The only other adjustable I would consider is the Rockwell R6, but I have a very difficult time actually paying $100 just to cut whiskers off my face.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
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  11. Marc Bagwell

    Marc Bagwell Well-Known Member

    Right you are! Why only four years for the FatBoy? And why stop DE razors? They still make a cheap plastic thing in India, but that razor is pure trash. It's a wonder King Gillette doesn't crawl out of his grave and beat the P&G CEO to death with that cheap piece of plastic.
  12. John Ruschmeyer

    John Ruschmeyer Well-Known Member

    I really wish I understood this issue of handle length.

    It seems like there was a point in the late 50's or early 60's when the razor companies decided that the standard handle was too short. You see this with the Schick J-series and, later, with the Gillette Slim and Super Adjustable. For the women's razors (Schick K-series, Lady Gillette) this make sense in that it facilitates shaving of the legs. But what happened with men?

    It's almost as though someone at Gillette had a meeting in 1960 and said... "Okay, men want a longer razor, so we'll make our next one longer." Only to have another meeting a few years later and say, "Well, that wasn't long enough. We need to make the next one even longer."
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  13. Marc Bagwell

    Marc Bagwell Well-Known Member

    Absolutely! I was looking a Schick Krona the other day and thinking how little no that handle was. If it was any longer, I could use it as a fence post. It makes since for the lady's, but doesn't do much for me.
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  14. mrchick

    mrchick Odd, Terrible Avatar

    Because they made a fortune selling handles for very high dollar cartridges. Opposed to making relatively expensive to produce razors, that used non-proprietary blades, that they made little or no money off of after the original sale.
  15. Herm2502

    Herm2502 off to elf practice

    Answer to the original question...$$$

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  16. Eeyore

    Eeyore Well-Known Member

    That was their strategy from the beginning. Just look at the history of razor blades (and patents).
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  17. Fly2High

    Fly2High Breaking Frugal

    If DE razors were to make a real comeback, I wouldn't be surprised to see them possibly bring out some retro razors. Again the sawback rules business. Engineers like to create and create the best in what they design. All businessmen want is to earn the most money. Unless there is a change in the US, I doubt we will see a return. Like what has been said, cartridges and expensive handles make more money and is easier to track future sales with proprietary heads than universal DE setups. Too many blades on the market to count on RMR- reacurring monthly revenue.

    Maybe , one day, the engineers will be allowed to dream and create again without the bean counters getting in the way but I doubt I will see that day.
  18. Jim99

    Jim99 Gold Water Shaver

    Herm, the answer is actually $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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  19. jmudrick

    jmudrick Well-Known Member

    Ah but it shaves better than the Fat Boy


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  20. RyX

    RyX DoH! Staff Member

    I believe Ryan @PLANofMAN posted an thread about how the Toggle was replaced by bottom dial Fat Boy, and later other models. The first two were attempts to make a better DE. That became the #195. Understanding all that, I still want a Toggle. Not as much as before I understood the progression and reasons why it happened. As to models after the Fay Boy; the march of time and planned obsolescence has brought us to the disposables we have today. I am pleased Gillette Corporation engineered and sold #195's in sufficient quantity and well machined quality to still be useful into present day.
    Do you think half a century from now some shaver will want a Mach II because it was "The Best a Shaver can get"?

    *See Tom @twhite and The Bunny Razor. Dreaming and creating still happen. Production, marketing, and being for sale at WalMart is another question. But we have the Internet to skip that old fashion supply chain design.

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