04-11-2012, 02:38 PM
#1
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I mentioned this in a post somewhere and ever since then I've been thinking of it. Did I ever in my wildest imaginings 2 years ago think that contemplating shaving for an exteneded period of time would ever consume me? No!

Some folks talk of the days of old, the '70s mostly, as being the good old days with a tear in their eye for what was and what has passed. I remember the '70s quite well. It was a decade of flux and advertising and nothing more IMO. I suppose if one actually listened to the ads and spent money chasing their lies one could actually find blades that were worth the money, but it was also in the early '70s where I decided blade shaving was the pits and I gave it up almost as fast as I bought the razor (which I still have and use BTW).

I would like to propose a different view of the Golden Age of Shaving.

It is right now.

Lets examine the evidence. In the '70s if I went to the pharmacy to get products I had racks of pretty horrid canned goop. I don't remember seeing soap pucks, but I assume they were there. I knew what a brush was because Dad had one and used it maybe once a year before finally retiring the entire concept, but I don't recall seeing any brushes where I bought my Gillette Black Handle. Blades were abundant on the pegboard in the store and I'm guessing I just just got a bum pack for that first and last (for over 40 years) attempt. My first attempt at blade shaving was a dismal failure because of the lack of knowledge disseminated and the transition to cartridges. Lots of folks consider those to be the golden years. I don't.

We are living in the golden years right now IMO.

What I lacked in the '70s was knowledge. Today we have knowledge of the craft just a click away and decent folks willing to help noobs get going and advance. That didn't exist in the '70s. It wasn't even a dream for most folks, if anyone.

We have the best of the old razors, and all of todays razors from around the planet. And again someone came before us to tell us what the razor is like before we spend our money. With a few clicks we can get a razor from Europe or anywhere from the planet, we aren't limited to what's advertised on the tube. The '70s was hampered by advertising and what was found on the shelf.

The same goes for soaps, creams, Croaps, blades, brushes, and everything else. Back then it was intimate knowledge of someone who would be "there" to buy product, and no one talked about shaving unless it was in an advertisement. So shaving gear from "away" was basically made of unobtainium unless you visited there yourself.

I've been testing blades from the '70s recently. While most old blades are better than the average blade made today, if one just listens to folks who aren't using blades based on price, but quality, the best blades made today are easily as good or better than the best blades of yesteryear. If one tries to get quality on the cheap, then there is a conflict and the modern blade suffers because quality doesn't come cheap. A quality vintage blade costs maybe $.75 today, and the same quality modern blade today costs $.25 - $.35 and one can buy as many as they want.

Today, it's all just a click away and the knowledge is "right here" or just a few hours at most away from the question having been posed. Others have come before and we have access to them.

To bring this to my own experience, in the '70s I had access to what was made in the USA at best, forget access to what the world had for shave gear (Despite living within 30 miles of NYC, it wasn't available to me unless I went into the city). Now I have access to the entire planet. Maybe a tear should be shed for some of the old items that are no longer available, but they've been replaced with gear from around the world and frankly I think the trade was good. Competition always makes for better products.

We have artisans making new items today because the demand is there and they're willing to fill it. So while we've lost some loved items others are stepping up to the plate to fill the void. We also have access to old world items still made today. The net also makes convincing manufacturers to go back to what worked easy, evidence the re-reformulation of LEA just recently.

Gents, IMO if you want the golden age of blade shaving, I suggest you just look around. It's here. It's now. Enjoy it!

BTW, I look on the 40+ years I put into cartridges as absolutely wasted years. Noobs with a brain with internet access don't need to go through that today. Yet another "proof" (or a repetition) that these are the golden years of shaving.

---------------------

Edited to make parts more readable and to correct some areas that I obviously didn't proofread enough or at all.

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 04-11-2012, 02:48 PM
#2
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Nice post...I agree

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 04-11-2012, 02:58 PM
#3
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It's true. The internet has really opened up the market. In most places your choices of soap were Williams and Old Spice. Cream choice was brushless or can. Brush was boar. 3 choices of blade. Razor was Gillette and Schick and by the late 70's to early 80's the quality was not what it once was.

I guess the only people who would have enjoyed it are collectors because you could pick up stuff for pennies or free. When I cleaned out my great uncles home when he passed we threw out handfuls of vintage Gillettes that would make guys swoon. Aristocrats, Old types, toggles etc.

Of course collecting that stuff did'nt exist too much then.

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 04-11-2012, 03:37 PM
#4
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I have to agree. Without the internet, I would still be dreading every day using cartridges. All I had to do was Google "better shave experience", and the very first link is LeisureGuy. It was shortly after I made that search, that artofmanliness.com posted about shaving like grandpa. I was hooked. Now, my 6 year old wants to smell all of the creams and soaps, and even helps pick out the brush to use each morning (he has his own VDH from Target...).

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 04-11-2012, 03:57 PM
#5
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Very enjoyable read Brian, thank you. I do feel lucky that I learned about this type of shaving last summer & I keep trying to shed the light with my friends. So far no luck, but when they do come around it will be easy to help them get a starter kit together.

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 04-11-2012, 07:45 PM
#6
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I couldn't agree more - the range of supplies and tools of the trade available to us today is nothing short of staggering, and it is almost too easy to get it - possible why many wetshavers develop AD Biggrin

(04-11-2012, 02:38 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I've been testing blades from the '70s recently. While most are better than the average blade made today, if one just listens to folks who aren't using baldes based on price, but quality, the baldes amde today are easily as good or better than the best blades of yesteryear. If one tries to get quality on the cheap, then there is a conflict and the modern blade suffers because quality doesn't come cheap. A quality vintage blade costs maybe $.75 today, and the same quality blade today costs $.25 - $.35 and one can buy as many as they want.

Even in Norway - which is an expensive place to buy traditional shaving supplies - the cost per blade for a "high end" DE blade is about one third to a quarter of what the latest and greatest multiblade cartridge costs. Thanks to the wonders of the internet and international shipping I can get the same blade from abroad for somewhere between a seventh and an eight of what the local convenience store wants for their multiblade horror... and the each blade last longer.

Indeed we live in a golden age - and we do so while saving money... which some of us promptly plow back into our AD Tongue

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 04-11-2012, 11:18 PM
#7
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
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Well said Brian, except my good old days were not the 70's. You have to go back one or two decades for that.

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 04-12-2012, 01:47 AM
#8
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I was born in early 80s, so I haven`t know 70s in my country (Bulgaria). I didn`t even see my dad to use a DE razor. Yes, he used it, but when Bic disposables came into the market, most men here put away their old double edge razors.

In the school, I used cheap disposable razors too (Gillette 2), with a brush and shaving creams. I think shaving creams are still more popular here, than canned goos.

I decided to try DE before 4 years, after a conversation with a friend, who is co-worker too. I found my old dad`s bulgarian razor, cleaned up and shaved with it. I still remember the feeling, when I saw my face in the mirror. It was amazing shave. From this moment I use only DE razors, sometimes SE (GEM Micromatic OC) and straights. Shaving became my passion, and now I shave everyday Sleepy

Try trying to convert my dad to start using classic razors again, without big success.

The other is history Shy

p.s. Sorry for my bad english Confused

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 04-12-2012, 04:40 AM
#9
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Great article, job well done.

I just had my 2nd Anniversary, I love traditional wet shaving. It is such a joy each morning to shave.

The other great part is all the great products to try out.

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 04-12-2012, 04:58 AM
#10
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
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Well done, Brian. Great perspective for all of us lucky wetshavers!

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 04-12-2012, 06:59 AM
#11
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I remember those days. I went to my local store and bought my Atra blades, and my Colgate, or Williams soap. Shaving wasn't fun back then. it was something that you just did, and tried to get done as quickly as possible.

Clayton

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 04-12-2012, 07:10 AM
#12
  • Java
  • Active Member
  • Warner Robins, Georgia, USA
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Well said, Brian. I read this last night, and in your honor, today's SOTD was;

'58 Gillette Super Speed dear old dad left me
Wilkinson blade - from Wal-Mart
Burma Shave Brush from Maddox's, a local mom & pop drug store
Williams Mug soap - also from Maddox's
Pinaud Clubman from Ingles supermarket

This would be my daily shave if it wasn't for the internet. Maybe by now I'd have tried the VdH Deluxe soap and brush from Wal-Mart. Maybe. That was how my father shaved every day until the '70s, with what ever he could find around town. The funny thing is, it was a darn fine shave. If that was all I had, I'd get along. It just wouldn't be as fun as standing in front of my Nook, deciding what to pick each day. I tip my hat to you, Brian. These are the "good old days" for shaving.

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 04-12-2012, 07:47 AM
#13
  • mikeperry
  • Senior Member
  • St Louis via the UK
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Brian, well said Sir! Euro

This post read 5½ years ago is reasonable for changing my shaving life (for the better), after 20 years of shaving misery...

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 04-12-2012, 08:40 AM
#14
  • Leon
  • Active Member
  • Porto, Portugal
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(04-11-2012, 02:38 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: Noobs with a brain with internet access don't need to go through that today. Yet another "proof" (or a repetition) that these are the golden years of shaving.

Well, noobs with a brain are also "brainwashed" with tons of Gillette ads invading their home TV's.
I just shiver to look at the awful lather those poor saps pretend to be enjoying in those ads.

How many of your fellow co-workers actually enjoy shaving? In my job, I'm the only "freak" who thinks that shaving is actually cool.

But I can agree that we are better than we were some decades ago. Plenty of more information, no doubt about it.

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 04-12-2012, 11:18 AM
#15
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(04-12-2012, 01:47 AM)Abyssos Wrote: Snip p.s. Sorry for my bad english Confused

Kras, you're doing fine. What you wrote is perfectly understandable. Thumbsup

BTW, you should read most all our Bulgarian if you think your English is bad!

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 04-27-2012, 12:08 PM
#16
  • 1.41
  • Junior Member
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Well said. I can now get razors and blades that I could never have gotten before the internet. Right now is the golden age as far as I'm concerned. I just hope it lasts.

(04-11-2012, 02:38 PM)ShadowsDad Wrote: I mentioned this in a post somewhere and ever since then I've been thinking of it. Did I ever in my wildest imaginings 2 years ago think that contemplating shaving for an exteneded period of time would ever consume me? No!

Some folks talk of the days of old, the '70s mostly, as being the good old days with a tear in their eye for what was and what has passed. I remember the '70s quite well. It was a decade of flux and advertising and nothing more IMO. I suppose if one actually listened to the ads and spent money chasing their lies one could actually find blades that were worth the money, but it was also in the early '70s where I decided blade shaving was the pits and I gave it up almost as fast as I bought the razor (which I still have and use BTW).

I would like to propose a different view of the Golden Age of Shaving.

It is right now.

Lets examine the evidence. In the '70s if I went to the pharmacy to get products I had racks of pretty horrid canned goop. I don't remember seeing soap pucks, but I assume they were there. I knew what a brush was because Dad had one and used it maybe once a year before finally retiring the entire concept, but I don't recall seeing any brushes where I bought my Gillette Black Handle. Blades were abundant on the pegboard in the store and I'm guessing I just just got a bum pack for that first and last (for over 40 years) attempt. My first attempt at blade shaving was a dismal failure because of the lack of knowledge disseminated and the transition to cartridges. Lots of folks consider those to be the golden years. I don't.

We are living in the golden years right now IMO.

What I lacked in the '70s was knowledge. Today we have knowledge of the craft just a click away and decent folks willing to help noobs get going and advance. That didn't exist in the '70s. It wasn't even a dream for most folks, if anyone.

We have the best of the old razors, and all of todays razors from around the planet. And again someone came before us to tell us what the razor is like before we spend our money. With a few clicks we can get a razor from Europe or anywhere from the planet, we aren't limited to what's advertised on the tube. The '70s was hampered by advertising and what was found on the shelf.

The same goes for soaps, creams, Croaps, blades, brushes, and everything else. Back then it was intimate knowledge of someone who would be "there" to buy product, and no one talked about shaving unless it was in an advertisement. So shaving gear from "away" was basically made of unobtainium unless you visited there yourself.

I've been testing blades from the '70s recently. While most old blades are better than the average blade made today, if one just listens to folks who aren't using blades based on price, but quality, the best blades made today are easily as good or better than the best blades of yesteryear. If one tries to get quality on the cheap, then there is a conflict and the modern blade suffers because quality doesn't come cheap. A quality vintage blade costs maybe $.75 today, and the same quality modern blade today costs $.25 - $.35 and one can buy as many as they want.

Today, it's all just a click away and the knowledge is "right here" or just a few hours at most away from the question having been posed. Others have come before and we have access to them.

To bring this to my own experience, in the '70s I had access to what was made in the USA at best, forget access to what the world had for shave gear (Despite living within 30 miles of NYC, it wasn't available to me unless I went into the city). Now I have access to the entire planet. Maybe a tear should be shed for some of the old items that are no longer available, but they've been replaced with gear from around the world and frankly I think the trade was good. Competition always makes for better products.

We have artisans making new items today because the demand is there and they're willing to fill it. So while we've lost some loved items others are stepping up to the plate to fill the void. We also have access to old world items still made today. The net also makes convincing manufacturers to go back to what worked easy, evidence the re-reformulation of LEA just recently.

Gents, IMO if you want the golden age of blade shaving, I suggest you just look around. It's here. It's now. Enjoy it!

BTW, I look on the 40+ years I put into cartridges as absolutely wasted years. Noobs with a brain with internet access don't need to go through that today. Yet another "proof" (or a repetition) that these are the golden years of shaving.

---------------------

Edited to make parts more readable and to correct some areas that I obviously didn't proofread enough or at all.

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 04-28-2012, 11:35 AM
#17
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Nice read, and I absolutely agree. I wouldn't even know where to start with wet shaving, had it not been for the internet. In fact, the last member of my family to used a DE was my grandfather. I asked him about his razor when I was an older teen and he told me, "You don't want one of those. There are much better razors to buy, now. You'll just cut yourself with one of these old things." Of course, it never occurred to me to ask why he was still using one if that were true! Oh well, now I know.

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 04-28-2012, 07:13 PM
#18
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Great post Brian,thanks,really put things into perspective....

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