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Thread: Gem 1912 & Junior: What's the difference?

  1. #1

    Default Gem 1912 & Junior: What's the difference?

    I bought what I believe is a Junior recently, but it looks like a 1912 according to a Google search. Is there a difference?

    The Gem I have has a short hexagonal profile handle with an ornate pattern on it.

    Thanks for your help.

    K.T.

  2. #2
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    I have a number of 1912 style Gems. Not an expert, and only know what can be learned by examining them, and reading the comments that other people make on this board from time to time.

    It appears that they came with a variety of handle styles and minor variations in the head design, also in what is engraved on the head. In all cases, they have the 1912 patent date on the bottom of the head, where it screws into the handle. In the photo below, the two razors on the right are Juniors. I can say that because they have "Gem Junior" engraved on the backs of their heads. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with overall size. These are all small razors, but the metal handled Junior is actually slightly longer than the "non-Juniors".
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0496.jpg  
    "He broke and ran, not from cowardice, but from private inclination." - R.A. Lafferty - "One at a Time".

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    I have a razor marked Gem Junior on the head, that has the ornate handle of the second razor from the left. I had always wondered if it was a mismatch.
    ~~JOHN~~*Founding member of ALPHA Team*

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    The term "Gem Jr." appars to have originally been used to distinguish the new 1900/1901 patent date "lather catcher" style Gem Jr. Bar Razor which used the new thin blade with the reinforced back. The "Gem" razors of that period were also of the "lather catcher" style, but used a wedge blade. Both razors were made by The Gem Cutlery Company, soon to have a name change to "American Safety Razor Corp."

    Later on, after the 1912 patent model was introduced, ASR started to sell these razors under a variety of names. You will find them as "Gem". "Gem Jr.", Ever-Ready and "Star". On some of the "Gem" branded 1912's you will find the phrase "Use Only with Gem DAMASKEENE Blades". This was simply a marketing pitch for ASR's new blades. All of these razors would, in fact, use "conventional" thin, reinforced back blades, similar to those we use today.

    These 1912 patent models were produced with a variety of handle styles and in later years many even had bakelite handles, including the "Parade" model. which had the large "baton" style handle. These "baton" style razors were, again sold under the various names of Gem Jr., Star and Ever-Ready.

    ASR also made a similar razor with the "baton" handle which was sold under the "Treet" tradename. This razor had a safety bar rather than the closed comb like the various 1912 models. This Treet razor was otherwise the same as the 1912, but it does not have the 1912 patent date stamped on it like all the others.

    I've noted some folks on these forums referring to their razor simply as a "Gem Jr.", however, as can be seen above, the term "Gem Jr." does not identify a specific model of razor; that name having been used on both the 1900/1901 patent Bar Razor and also on 1912 patent models.

    Regards,
    Tom

  5. #5
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    Great information. Thanks!

    My razor also looks like the second one on the left. I'll take a closer look to see what it says on the head.

    Thanks to Tom, especially, for the good research. I can see it's a little confusing to nail down what's what.

    K.T.

  6. #6

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    Can someone tell me if they can tell a difference in the shaves when using a Gem Junior 1912 and Gem 1912? Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevtex View Post
    Can someone tell me if they can tell a difference in the shaves when using a Gem Junior 1912 and Gem 1912? Thanks.
    You shouldn't be able to see any difference in the performance of the two razors, assuming both specimens are in good condition. In other words, assuming that one of them hasn't been dropped or otherwise distorted.

    If they have different styles of handles, however, you may find something of a difference in the way they shave simply due to the way you may be gripping the razor or due to a slight difference in weight. If you interchange the handles, you should be able to prove this to yourself.

    The only other thing that could have a theoretical affect on the way two razors may shave is the finish. Bare brass will likely not have exactly the same friction or drag against your face as nickel plating or gold plating. I personally doubt that you will be able to percieve this difference however.

    Regards,
    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by tom myers View Post
    You shouldn't be able to see any difference in the performance of the two razors, assuming both specimens are in good condition. . . .
    If they have different styles of handles, however, you may find something of a difference in the way they shave simply due to the way you may be gripping the razor or due to a slight difference in weight. If you interchange the handles, you should be able to prove this to yourself.
    Tom is correct . . . either one is outstanding!!
    Brad - OGA
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    In order to have the things tomorrow others won't have. - Les Brown

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