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Thread: Gem 1912

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    3 Post(s)

    Default Gem 1912

    I must admit I was a bit apprehensive regarding the Gem razors. Aggressive appearance, simple blade holder, and that they use the same blades used by my dad building models and preparing artwork for printing did not seem like a good combination for my neck. But when an experienced wet shaver friend loaned one to me with the comments “you need to try this” and “you can handle it” how could I walk away. It being made in my home town and about the same year as my house was built further peaked my interest and felt obligation to give it a shot.

    The 1912 was manufactured into the 1940’s. The design is elegantly simple, made from a few pieces of stamped metal riveted together. The blade is held in place by two small nibs on the edge and down pressure from the spring loaded top plate. I was pleasantly surprised how secure the blade is held. The handle is solid and provides a nice balance.

    Gem has been producing quality blades for shaving and industrial use for 100 years and they still look the same. These blades have a single cutting edge and are significantly thicker and more rigid than double edge blades. This stiffness behaves more like a straight razor. I found the blade easily got under the tricky hair on my neck and sliced them cleanly in one pass. My double edge required more stretching and multiple passes to get the same result. After a few shaves, the blades are still in great shape for projects around the house.

    The razor does have an aggressive design that requires respect and a light touch but the secret is that the razor uses a lower angle than my Superspeed or Slant. That is, you need to hold the flat head of the razor almost flat against your face. The classic sound of a good pass is very clear when you have it right and helps you to find the proper hold.

    After a week’s worth of shaves I found only one drawback. The head design and low angle of cutting makes getting close while cutting away from my nose and ears a little more challenging but some more time at the sink will resolve that. The overall close shave and especially the way the blade gets under hairs and does not hop makes this classic a must for the shave den.

    Gem 1912’s can be found at yard sales, antique shops, and eBay in great shape for less than $20.00 (often less than $10.00) and Gem blades are available on line at Ted Pella Inc. and others and at several chain drug stores.

    Last edited by Jim; 07-24-2010 at 07:15 PM.
    Barbecue is like a coquettish young woman, favoring only those suitors who ply her with considerable time and attention.

    - Bob Garner

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Carmel, NY
    0 Post(s)

    Default The Best Safety Razor ever made!

    The title should say it all. I could really go on for days about these razors, I am really surprised that there is only one review for these. There are many Gilette reviews and other DE reviews, but no one would tell by looking at this review that this razor trumps them all and it does!

    This is the closest shave I have ever gotten from a Safety razor and is actual JUST as smooth and soft as my straight razor shaves after a nice honing session and good stroppings.

    The razor looks terrifying but feels gentler than any Merkur or Gillette I have ever used. This includes Super Speeds and Gillette Techs. The razor makes a loud cutting sound when chopping off hairs, just like a straight hollow grind razor would. This really helps in letting you know where you'll need to buff or touch up on your last pass. No more noise? Than your shave is finished!
    Blades replacement is simple, open the top with your finger, but the blade in so it fits under the hooks in the front, shut the top. Done.

    Think you need a straight to achieve the best shave possible? You don't! Just throw your DE razors in storage and use these old GEMs. The name really does say it all.
    Currently enrolled in Dr. Drew's HAD Rehab.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Michigan's Thumb
    0 Post(s)

    Default Most Under-Rated Safety Razor Ever

    The Gem's are the most under-rated of all Safety Razors.

    Every wet shaver owes it to themselves to try out a Gem at least once, if for no other reason than the fact that the sound of hairs being sheared off is awesome!! The audio feedback that a Gem gives is just uber cool!!

    Price wise, very good specimens can often be found in the $15-20 range.

    Quality is top notch, the Gem 1912's were built almost 100 years ago, and they are still going very strong!!

    Blades are still widely available, and of good quality.

    You really have no reason to not take a Gem for a spin, find out for yourself why all of us Gemocrats, never stop raving about them.
    ~~JOHN~~*Founding member of ALPHA Team*

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Past midway in our life's journey…
    2 Post(s)


    I've got three of these with different handles, plus an EverReady and a Star which are basically the same. If you're thinking of trying a single edge razor for the first time, this may be the best one to start with. I find it very forgiving and easy to learn, while not sacrificing a close shave. They're still cheap at this writing, too. Even on eBay they don't tend to go for very much, although you may get the lowest prices there by ordering a lot of several razors.
    “Good is better than evil, because it's nicer!!” - - Mammy Yokum

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    NJ and Mars
    0 Post(s)


    I have several of the 1912 models and all provide for excellent, close, smooth shaves.

    Price: These can be had cheap with many under $10, and even the very nice minty ones not going for more than $20-$25.

    Quality: The razor was built to last. It is still going strong, and in many cases the plating is solid.

    User Friendly: As long as you go slow, and use no pressure, the razor will be your best friend. A nice, light touch yields an incredible shave.

    Grip: Very good, and even when soap does not slip from the hands.

    Blade Replacement: Once you get the hang of it, this is very simple and easy.

    Aggressiveness: How do you rate an open comb razor that can almost get you to BBS in two passes, and yet doesn't irritate at all?

    Adjustability: None

    Balance: Near Perfect!
    - Lou

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    In exile
    0 Post(s)


    I like it a lot more than I thought I would. With a sharp blade and good prep, it gives me as good a shave as I could hope for. I can't believe they quit making these. BBS shaves don't take long at all with it. Everyone should have one of these.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    0 Post(s)

    Default GEMs are gems.

    The 1912 GEM is about the best razor I've ever used, and shaves as close as a slant. Couple that to the fact that they're cheap as dirt, as are their blades, and you have a winner.

    Price: They're practically free, for Pete's sake. $5 including shipping is typical.
    Quality: They look a little cheaply made; then again, they're a century old, and they still work perfectly.
    User friendly: Spring-loaded door to place and remove the blade; what could be easier? I give it a 9 instead of 10 only because of the danger of cutting yourself with the blade while unwrapping it.
    Grip: Just fine. Simple knurled handle. Some are fancier. All are easy to grasp, and are just about the perfect size for normal hands.
    Ease of blade replacement: See User Friendly.
    Aggressiveness: Perfect. It's aggressive, can go BBS in two or three passes, yet is difficult to cut yourself with (unlike the Micromatic, but that's another review).
    Adjustability: there isn't any.
    Balance: seems great to me. The handle is heavyish compared to the light head, making it easier to control the head.

    If you don't own and use a GEM, it is your loss. At the low price, there is little excuse for not having one.
    Zumkopf -- "You rook mah-velus! And you KNOW what I am saying to you."

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