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View Full Version : Transition to goop and plastic / GI shaving kits



Hansel
01-02-2010, 06:48 AM
So, these two things have been on my mind for a while.

First, the earliest memories I have of seeing anybody shave are from the late 1980's or early 1990's, I was just a little guy back then. I only saw plastic cartridge/disposable razors, and canned goop. When I was very, very little, I do recall my mom buying my grandfather a gift set containing a mug, a plastic container of shave soap, aftershave, and a shaving brush. I know he promptly switched to the soap and brush instead of goop, commenting on how it reminded him of 'Way Back When', coke-cola in glass bottles, crystal set AM radios, etc. When he used up the last of the soap, though, it was back to the goo. Though I never saw him use them, and he wound up giving them to me, he had a ball end Tech in his medicine cabinet complete with some blades, and a Super Speed and Fatboy dug up from god knows where, so I know that at one point he did use DE razors.

My dad, on the other hand, has apparently ALWAYS used plastic and goop.

So, when were the first canned-goop type creams invented, when were the first cartridge/disposable razors invented, and when did the majority of the population switch to these?

Again, same question for other parts of the world, when did Canada, the UK, Western (and Eastern, for that matter!) Europe, Australia, etc switch from old style to goop and plastic?

Second, what about GI issue shaving kits?
WWI and WWII (And thus, Korean war era) kits are pretty familiar to me. My grandfather told me some about the one he had in WW2, though he mentioned he preferred to use his Rolls razor and sold his kit off to a Chinese soldier, who was eager to pay twice what it was worth (And five times what American cigarettes were worth, but that's another story...). I've also seen GI reenactors with their Gillette kits shaving in their steel pots, and their German army counter parts huddled around the old coal scuttle with German made Bakelite DE's, so again, pretty familiar stuff. We use stuff made out of better materials, but the concept is the same.

I'm assuming that the average GI of the late 80's and more modern times has used modern items.

But, what about that gap of 1960's up till the 80's? What kind of stuff would they have been issued/used?

Third, while writing this, I just noticed something. I've seen vintage shaving equipment from "western" countries, but what would "east bloc" countries like Russia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, etc have been shaving with? I don't think I've EVER seen a Russian made DE, SE, or disposable!

sandmountainslim
01-02-2010, 07:22 AM
My first shaving memories take place a bit earlier than yours in the mid-70's when I would watch my grandpa and my dad shave.
Grandpa was a Super Speed man and had two of them along with an injector razor and I remember my dad using what I now believe was a Trac II then switching to disposables in the late 70's.
I believe (maybe wrongly) that the Good News was the first disposable to make it big and that was in '75 or so.
Dad has always used canned crap to shave with and my grandpa switched between Old Spice soap in his mug, Colgate Soap and Edge Gel :confused1

Hope that was of some help.
Wp

itb76
01-02-2010, 02:46 PM
Yeah my dad had some kind of DE razor when I was little but switched to the Good News some time in the late 70s or early 80s. Always used Barbasol shave cream.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillette_(brand)) the Trac 2 came out in '71 and the Good News in '76.

FormerDATT
01-02-2010, 02:59 PM
Summer of 1967 saw my young feet square on the little yellow foot prints at Parris Island, SC. We were issued chrome handled Gillette adjustables (Slim not FatBoy), and a can of Rise. Most had no idea as to settings, so along with the sheer panic of it all, evening shave time was awash in much blood.
Dave

jkenton
01-02-2010, 03:13 PM
Did they make you recite:

This is my razor
There are many like it
But this one is mine?

:001_smile

kp217
01-02-2010, 03:43 PM
i don't really have any shave memories because my dad has used an electric all of MY life and my grandfather uses a brush but with canned crap and a disposable

ek.310
01-02-2010, 03:49 PM
me neither..self taught shaver..my dad still to this day uses cheap i blades n cream..red as a tomatoe..as usual ;-(

My grandpa's used what was cheap wuth cheap foam for theiir entire lives..I think im the only in my fam who knows what works n trys things like a GEM 1912..been 3yrs now

mark3d
01-02-2010, 04:42 PM
I remember my grandfather face lathering with a boar brush and mennen shave stick, then using some kind of silver razor (presumably a gillette of some kind). That would have been around 1980.

.

valmara1971
01-02-2010, 04:46 PM
Summer of 1967 saw my young feet square on the little yellow foot prints at Parris Island, SC. We were issued chrome handled Gillette adjustables (Slim not FatBoy), and a can of Rise. Most had no idea as to settings, so along with the sheer panic of it all, evening shave time was awash in much blood.
Dave

PLEASE tell me you still have it!!!!!!!

grouse79
01-02-2010, 08:21 PM
I'm 30 and until May 2008 I had no idea what a safety razor actually was (I used to think that's what the cartridge things were). They must have fallen out of fashion with most guys by the mid-70s so I don't suppose there are many people my age or younger who remember their dad using one (mine certainly didn't). One gentleman I know in his late 70s told me he had switched from the DE razor to a Mach3 in 2004. I guess he thought you couldn't get the blades anymore.

mmack66
01-02-2010, 08:41 PM
The Wilkinson Bonded razor was introduced in 1970. Canned shaving cream appeared in the mid-50's.

Hansel
01-02-2010, 09:03 PM
Summer of 1967 saw my young feet square on the little yellow foot prints at Parris Island, SC. We were issued chrome handled Gillette adjustables (Slim not FatBoy), and a can of Rise. Most had no idea as to settings, so along with the sheer panic of it all, evening shave time was awash in much blood.
Dave

Hah! You know, given how you need to be shaved clean to get a good gas mask seal so nerve gas can't be used to kill you (Or CS/CN gas to incapacitate you), and how in some places of the world a tiny little knick on your neck can get infected and ALSO KILL you, I'm shocked that they either issue a mild Tech so you can't do much damage, or teach you how to do it the right way...


Canned shaving cream appeared in the mid-50's.

Holy crap! That long ago!?

Topgumby
01-02-2010, 09:39 PM
In 1981 the USMC had us using some sort of cartridge razor at "boot camp"...I think they were Gillette Trac II, or maybe Atra razors. Like FormerDATT, I recall those first attempt to shave as somewhat bloody affairs. I honestly don't recall what brand of shaving cream we had, but it was an aerosol can.

I do recall our Senior Drill Instructor telling us before inspections that he wanted a two pass shave, one pass with and one against the grain. On graduation day, we got hosed down with Aqua Velva by our DIs that had been decanted to spray bottles.

After graduation, we were free to buy what we wanted. I don't think I was ever issued any shaving gear, other than at recruit training, and even then we technically bought the stuff from the Exchange system.

I'd wager that the US armed forces went cartridge in the early 70's, like the rest of the country did. The canned foam probably dates back to the 50's.

I do recall seeing DE razors for sale at the PX, and I even bought a Super Adjustable because it seemed "salty", but having no knowledge as to how it should be used, I think I tossed it after a few tries.

AdrianR
01-03-2010, 06:11 AM
Early 1970's in the UK - my grandpa was always a brush, soap in mug and SuperSpeed man and I remember my granma shaving the back of his neck. My dad was also a wet-shaver but I only recall canned goop and a Techmatic for his daily ablution...which is kinda strange as he was ex-military, and still gave his leather shoes a daily spit-and-polish, as well as wearing starched button-on collars to his work-shirts.

sandmountainslim
01-03-2010, 07:22 AM
I'd wager that the US armed forces went cartridge in the early 70's, like the rest of the country did.

My dad claims he was given a cartridge razor at USMC boot camp in '72 (probably a Trac II) and he hasn't used a DE since. Also never seen him use a mug and brush just Barbasol or Foamy.
The Military helped bring the Shavepocolypse:sad:
Wp

rickc
01-03-2010, 09:33 AM
My dad used some sort of cartridge razor. However he did use a brush and Williams to shave with. He wouldn't touch canned shave foam. I think when I was five years old he did use a DE that had a black handle.

When I went through boot camp in the Army back in 88 we were to buy our own shave gear. I had a disposable and canned goop. I don't think we were allowed to use electrics in boot camp. Though I think a few guys bought one at the PX.

Masterofsparks
01-03-2010, 09:42 AM
If I recall in 1972 in San Diego Navy boot camp they took away my Schick injector at processing into boot and gave me a twin blade cartridge. I can't remember what kind of canned stuff we were using but that green Edge seems to come to mind. I can remember being forced to clean up with a quick dry shave before personal inspections just to get a little closer! Ugh! If I remember right I got rid of the plastic razors after boot and bought me another injector but I used that Edge shaving cream for quite a while. It came out as a green gel and foamed up on your face as you rubbed it in. I did prefer that over the other foams that were on the market at the time.

Topgumby
01-03-2010, 09:56 AM
The Military helped bring the Shavepocolypse:sad:
Wp

The military helped make Gillette an American icon. Gillette, along with other safety razor companies, supplied razors and blades to the Doughboys during the First World War. Those who survived came home with a familiarity with safety razors. Same with WWII.

I'm sure that Gillette was aggressive about supplying Uncle Sam a great deal on the new cartridge razors. The P&G version of Gillette gives out free Fusions to anybody.

It's all about getting people to buy the cartridges, just like it used to be all about the blades.