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Thread: Vintage Gillette Questions

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    Default Vintage Gillette Questions

    I recently was given a vintage Gillette open comb safety razor. I cleaned it up with some scrubbing, popped in a new blade and was surprised at how well it works. I haven't used my mach 3 sense. I heard that It is possible to find out which Gillette I have by looking up the manufacturing code on the razor, but I have had no luck googling for it. Anybody know how to find information on exactly which model I have and how old it is? The code on the razor is 016769 and says Made in Canada. Also, does anybody know how this razor would stack up against the Merker 12c (open comb)? And I have heard many people say that the 3 piece design of these types of razors is a drawback, but I never hear why. I see nothing wrong with it and the blade always fits perfectly and doesn't move around any, so I'm a bit confused there. Any help would be appreciated, thanks...
    Last edited by Maul555; 01-08-2010 at 08:13 AM.

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    Pictures will help greatly. As for the three-piece being a drawback, YMMV. A TTO is certainly easier to load with a blade, but I find three-pieces to be great!
    Today's Shave: Genco Easy Aces / AOS Lavender

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    If you post a photo you'll probably get an ID within three minutes.

    And the numbers on the Gillette razors are a date code and have nothing to do with the model.

    Len

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldguy View Post
    If you post a photo you'll probably get an ID within three minutes.

    And the numbers on the Gillette razors are a date code and have nothing to do with the model.

    Len
    If its a date code then it could tell me when it was made right? That's one of the things I most want to know...


    Here are some pics:






    As you can see, the head is a little worn, but it still works great...

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    It's a ball handle Old Type pocket razor. The date code does not follow Gillette's USA numbering. I would have expected a letter either before or after the numbers. But that model was made between 1917 and 1929. The cap looks like the thinner model so most likely the razor was made between 1917 and 1921, the WWI period when most of these were made.

    Len

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    Also you are very lucky if the handle doesn't have a crack in it, most do. I see no drawback to shaving with it. It's a little more aggressive then say a Super Speed but once you get your technique perfected with it you'll be rewarded with an extremely smooth, close shave. Enjoy. I enjoy mine.

    Len

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldguy View Post
    It's a ball handle Old Type pocket razor. The date code does not follow Gillette's USA numbering. I would have expected a letter either before or after the numbers. But that model was made between 1917 and 1929. The cap looks like the thinner model so most likely the razor was made between 1917 and 1921, the WWI period when most of these were made.

    Len
    Well its made in Canada, so that would make sense... Thanks for the info!! I had good reason to believe that this razor had been through WWII, but now it looks like it is much older, Thanks!




    Quote Originally Posted by Oldguy View Post
    Also you are very lucky if the handle doesn't have a crack in it, most do. I see no drawback to shaving with it. It's a little more aggressive then say a Super Speed but once you get your technique perfected with it you'll be rewarded with an extremely smooth, close shave. Enjoy. I enjoy mine.

    Len
    There is no crack... Its pretty solid metal, i don't see how a crack would ever form. This is the first and only saftey razor I have ever used, and I love it. I havent had any problems nicking myself yet, but I bet its just a matter of time. Do you think that a merker open comb would perform similarly. Im just starting to get into this and I plan to go the extra mile and get a brush, bowl, real cream and a brand new razor or two, as well as some different blades.
    Last edited by Maul555; 01-08-2010 at 09:59 AM.

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    Great razor!!

    I shave with the same model everyday!
    Wp
    Old Type Gillette, NEW and 40's Superspeed

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    that isnt just any ball end old type.... notice the skinny handle and the ball doesnt have any knurling. These type are quite rare. Every one I have seen was from Canada.

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    Quote Originally Posted by **Bingo_Bob** View Post
    that isnt just any ball end old type.... notice the skinny handle and the ball doesnt have any knurling. These type are quite rare. Every one I have seen was from Canada.
    ... the handle is thinner than the US Old Type handles and the Gillette Logo is on the right side. Nice one

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    From your responses it sounds like this is quite a rare razor. I would never sell this item, but out of curiosity, how much do you think a razor like this would go for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maul555 View Post
    From your responses it sounds like this is quite a rare razor. I would never sell this item, but out of curiosity, how much do you think a razor like this would go for?
    Achim has given it a cool thumbs up . . . the darn thing is priceless!!

    Nice razor - I'm sure it will always be among your "special" ones! (You will have more . . . and more . . . and more!!)
    Brad - OGA
    You must be willing to do the things today others won't do . . .
    In order to have the things tomorrow others won't have. - Les Brown

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    Quote Originally Posted by BBrad View Post
    Achim has given it a cool thumbs up . . . the darn thing is priceless!!

    Nice razor - I'm sure it will always be among your "special" ones! (You will have more . . . and more . . . and more!!)
    Priceless? Now them be strong words there... Surely someone can throw out a ballpark figure of some sort, eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maul555 View Post
    Priceless? Now them be strong words there... Surely someone can throw out a ballpark figure of some sort, eh?
    Our fellow B&Ber Achim (Mr-Razor) is one of this hobby's most renowned authorities on Gillette razors. His website, www.mr-razor.com contains a wealth of information and photos. He is one that will usually point out the rare or special points on a particular razor being discussed on B&B.

    I was being a bit of a "wise guy" when I said "priceless" . . . but then again, Achim said . . .

    As to your razor's value, I couldn't really say. Old Types with solid handles in great condition such as yours can be found for under $20 in antique shops or on eBay. The rarity of your ball-end should add value, but only if a potential buyer is knowledgeable enough to recognize the rarity and assign a value to it. Of course, the razor's correct case and blade safe in comparable condition would add more to its value.

    I certainly missed the lack of knurls on your handle's ball . . . until Achim pointed that out!!

    It is one that I probably would not sell, either!
    Brad - OGA
    You must be willing to do the things today others won't do . . .
    In order to have the things tomorrow others won't have. - Les Brown

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    I see what your saying. Its worth what someone is willing to pay for it, as most things... allright then. I guess my only real remaining question would be how will this stack up against a brand new open combed merker in terms of shaving quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maul555 View Post
    I guess my only real remaining question would be how will this stack up against a brand new open combed merker?
    It is better than any brand new Open Comb Merkur.

    The Gillette is made of brass plated with either silver or nickel and will outlast you and your grandchildren.
    The Merkur while a good design and much better than any cartridge razor is made of inferior metals compared to the Gillette.
    Wp
    Old Type Gillette, NEW and 40's Superspeed

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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmountainslim View Post
    It is better than any brand new Open Comb Merkur.

    The Gillette is made of brass plated with either silver or nickel and will outlast you and your grandchildren.
    The Merkur while a good design and much better than any cartridge razor is made of inferior metals compared to the Gillette.
    Wp
    wow. I was under the assumption that the build quality of merkers would be on par with the old stuff, only new. Are there any manufacturers of new razors that you know of that are built like a tank like the old stuff? I am willing to spend some extra on a razor that is built better.
    Last edited by Maul555; 01-09-2010 at 08:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maul555 View Post
    wow. I was under the assumption that the build quality of merkers would be on par with the old stuff, only new. Are there any manufacturers of new razors that you know if that are built like a tank like the old stuff? I am willing to spend some extra on a razor that is built better.
    Why would you want to spend more money when you have the most solid razor ever built? You could always upgrade the Gillette with a new handle. As to the new razors,
    No. Not to be insulting but the modern manufacturers all build from pot metal.
    There was some company in Pakistan who made a brass TTO razor but the review said it was inferior to......just about everything.

    The best "modern manufacturers" would probably be Bobs Razor Works which makes brand new fancy handles for 3 piece Gillettes and sells replated heads with them also. Also an outfit called Ikon sells brand new copies of the Gillette Old Type made of stainless steel but I have heard people on this forum say there is an issue with the aggressivess of the razors.
    Best bet is to get a vintage Gillette head and add a new Bobs Razor Works Bull Mastiff or other handle to it. That is what I am doing.
    Wp

    Here is the Bull Mastiff
    Imagine your razor lookin like this
    Last edited by sandmountainslim; 01-09-2010 at 08:13 AM.
    Old Type Gillette, NEW and 40's Superspeed

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    Well, you have given me a lot to think about regarding my next razor purchase. Perhaps I will do a bit of lurking on ebay, and those bob's razor works look very nice and clean too, Thanks! I don't think that I'll be separating this razor from its handle though, But I defiantly want some more options in my arsenal...
    Last edited by Maul555; 01-09-2010 at 08:50 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maul555 View Post
    Well, you have given me a lot to think about regarding my next razor purchase. Perhaps I will do a bit of lurking on ebay, and those bob's razor works look very nice and clean too... Thanks.
    Have a look at Bobs website He is a member here and an artiste of razors. Affordable also.
    Wp
    Old Type Gillette, NEW and 40's Superspeed

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