05-13-2012, 11:52 AM
#1
User Info
- Eclipse Red Ring -
The british thoroughbred

[Image: DSCF6474.jpg]

[Image: DSCF6474.jpg]

In more than one ocassion I've had my difficulties to explain how a car can be "sexy", how it has curves, a waist, proportions ... eventhough the one that carries me around nowadays, like most modern cars is closer in design to a refrigerator with wheels. Sometimes designs enter your brain straight through your eyes, and settle down somewhere ... a place where things cannot be easily explained, and frequently cannot be ignored either.

Something of the sort is what happenned to me with this english razor from the 1930's. From time to time I would find myself googling for images of this elusive razor. Somehow and without realizing it, this razor was sneaking into that special part of the brain where logic always looses. I know myself, and reason started its usual routine of self convincement:

"You have enough razors already,
probably it will shave no better than what you already have,
You like shaving but are not a collector so ... what's the point?"

So convinced in part by my logical half and aided by the prices these razors reach in the market, and by not having a PayPal account, I rested at ease knowing that my shaves are allright as they are and forgot about it. Little would I know that without looking for it, a Red Ring would come to my hands.

Sheffield steel and horses

[Image: DSCF6480.jpg]

When we talk steel and shaving, our mind inmediately travels to two palces: Solingen and Sheffield. The reason for their fame is that both production centers passed strict regulations in order to ensure the homogeneity of the quelity of their steel. Naturally there was good steel elsewhere too, but its origin was not sufficient guarantee of great steel.

In 1889 James Neill & Co was founded, becoming one of the important steel players in Sheffield, while the brand Eclipse was born in 1909. Thier interest was in tools and magnets. The name Eclipse comes from a very special horse owned by one of the sons of King George II, Duke of Cumberland, which happened to be born during a solar eclipse in 1764

[Image: Eclipsehorse.jpg]
Eclipse, one of te greatest horses of all times. 80% of todays thoughroughbreds have Eclipse's blod running through their veins.

To be born during an eclipse is quite enough for an anecdote, but if on top of that the newborn horse has a chestnut coat is no wonder some said this horse was predestined for glory.

[Image: TLE2000umbra2w.jpg]
During a solra eclipse we can see the refracted light from the sun, resulting in a redish - chesnut color

So be it, the great to be horse was named Eclipse, and I suppose that James Neill was a good horse aficionado. His new company will be called Eclipse after the horse. The name of the company and its reason is very well documented, but we don't know anything about the Red Ring part of our razor. Curiously, a red ring has a lot to do with astronomy and eclipses too.

When we see a lunar eclipse from earth, the moon gets tinted in redish color, but if by any chance Scotty could beam us to the to the bright side of the moon during a total eclipse (the earth gets between the sun and the moon) what we would see would be a totally different celestial game. The earth will obscure the sun leaving a bright ring of red light. This bright red ring is in fact something somewhat freaky ... all the sunrises and sunsets in the moon seen all together, at the same moment !!!

An awesome sight that Alan Bean (Apollo 12) enjoyed in 1969.

[Image: moonview450_new_big.gif]
Animation of the red ring during an eclipose as seen from the moon

May be James Neill liked horses and astronomy too, who knows, but it also may be that the name Red Ring for his razor has a less celestial origin ... something more mundane and directly related again with horses.

When hoofs are repeatedly traumatized they can develop something called laminosis. This was frequent in race horses of the time of the great Eclipse, as horses travelled from competition to competition by their own means ... no trailers then. It happens that one of the manifestations of laminosis is the development of a red ring in the hoof. As you can understand I have no idea where the name Red Ring came from, but due to my interest in astronomy and aesthetical reasons I rather think of the improbable celestial origins of the name than in an illness.

Whatever it may be, it has no importance besides the natural curiosity that grabs me when I am waiting to pick up the wife (time is a different dimension for her) or waiting at a red light, and what concerns us is shaving ... so Eclipse was manufacturing blades and just one razor.

[Image: advert-1.jpg]

... and there are two patents dedicated to it, one for the razor itself and the other for the use of the magnet. By the way Eclipse did very welll during the WW as they had to put out lots of magnets for airplane engines.

[Image: 380958patent.jpg]

[Image: 344280patent.jpg]

The Red Ring is a two piece razor, which I like as it facilitates blade changing. Most three piece razors are just a bit unconfortable for me. I guess I am getting a bit clumsy, but two pece razors eliminate the insignificant dilema.

[Image: DSCF6465.jpg]

Being two piece is good for me, but oposed to the usual design of the time where the studs to align the blade are located on the bottom of the cap, in the Red Ring are on top of the base plate, and this is just great. Ok course, both systems hold the blade just the same, but blade changing is clearly much more confortable, so much so that I end up missing it in other razors.

[Image: DSCF6479.jpg]

[Image: DSCF6478.jpg]

Perhaps, the differentiating characteristic of this razor is its head design, some sort of hybrid between an open and closed comb, and with the teeth profile extending onto the cap. I would love to tell you that this unique head hides some type of shaving secret. That would be a surprise, seeing that razor heads have evolved little or nothing in the past 80 years.

[Image: DSCF6473.jpg]

At first sight the Red Ring head combines the characterisrics of an open and closed comb, but in reality it is just an open comb. The true function of the bar seems to be to give the neccessary rigidity to the comb. No more bent teeth we see in lots of vintages. This may seem kind of stupid but it was not at the time. A fortuitous fall wouls almost always end up in a bent tooth, most probably the ones at the ends. That's why the teeth at the ends in most razors where made the widest and strongest.

We are talking of a razor contemporary to Gillette's transition from the Old Type heads (no gap) to the New heads (with gap), as it was put on the market in 1932. By design this razor is of the old type as the blade edges rest directly on the comb and it has no gap built into the head. Generally, heads with gap thend to be more benign and less picky about technique, meaning angle and pressure. Heads with no gap and low profiles are quite esay in terms of angle, but may tend to bite back at you if you forget to keep a light touch (my appreciation ... as always YMMV) so just by looking at it, I thought the Red Ring may call for attention to pressure.

[Image: DSCF6476.jpg]

I have to tell that my initial observations are very far from the truth. The Red Ring is a very benign and permisive razor when it encounters errors in our technique. I've gotten quite careless with it, and played with pressure, and never had it bite back. We may think then that if it is very a bening razor (meaning not agressive at all) and it may not be a great shaver, but here it may surprise many. It is quite effective while mild ... in my book a very good combination od qualities.

It happens that if I haven't shaved in a couple of days I have the tendency to reach for certain razors (slant, Aristocrat #15, Apollo, etc.). This more "agressive" razors (don't like that word to describe it) ask for less passes. On the other hand, if I had a BBS last night, or on the ocasional second shave of the day to get rid of the 7 pm shadow, I tend to grab the mildest razors in my nook. With the Red Ring it just doesn't matter, be it the growth of the whole weekend, orthe second shave of the day, getting ready for an evening out. This razor always performs smoothly and effectivle regardless of my beard state, and this is something not easy to find in a razor. May be this is the hidden secret of the strange looking head ... it is not what we would call an agressive razor, but it shaves like one.

Another characteristic of this razor is its adjustability, at least that's what the ads say ...

[Image: RIMG2890.jpg]

It is true that we can, more or less dial all razors by tightening or loosening the head, even Mühle indicates so in its instruction leaflet as did Gillette very long ago. Eclipse decided to make this a feature integrated in the design of the razor. They called it "micromatic adjustement" and the handle even has two little hearts to aid you in pointing your desired position. In reality it is not adjustable as we think of adjustment today ... I wouldn't go further thatn calling this way of ajusting a razor as minimally adaptable.

One last detail in the Red Ring has made it kind of famous. As we said before, James Neill also manufactured magnets, and somebody in Sheffield had a great idea ... simple buy great ... put a magnet ant the end of the know. Picking up the fallen blade is now a breeze.

Trying to get a hold of one of these Red Rings is now a matter lots ... lots of money or lots of luck, as the prices are quite high andthe numberof razors offered a bit low. All models you may find are the same razor. Some have an eclipse design on he cap, others don't, but it is the same razor that came in different presentations.

[Image: prices.jpg]

You can check out Johann's W set in this great review

Best to all,

Tony

0 68
Reply
 05-13-2012, 12:22 PM
#2
User Info
Great write up, thanks Tony!

129 6,685
Reply
 05-13-2012, 02:25 PM
#3
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
User Info
Absolutely great review.

There's a replated one on the bay right now and it's already passed my max bid, so I'm still searching...

91 17,883
Reply
 05-13-2012, 06:25 PM
#4
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
User Info
Thanks for the effort, I had a friend lend me one to try. It's a nice looking razor and cool design, but the shave for me was not anything to get excited about. A $10 Gillette New runs circles around it IMO.

136 1,952
Reply
 05-13-2012, 08:46 PM
#5
User Info
Great review, sir! Beautiful razor!

75 20,884
Reply
 05-14-2012, 01:36 AM
#6
User Info
(05-13-2012, 06:25 PM)Shanman Wrote: Thanks for the effort, I had a friend lend me one to try. It's a nice looking razor and cool design, but the shave for me was not anything to get excited about. A $10 Gillette New runs circles around it IMO.

To be fair, I would compare the Red Ring with other no gap razors such as the Gilette Old Type, but I have to agree with your appreciation about the New. In fact, I believe the New runs circles around most any other razor. For me it is one of the best heads around.

0 68
Reply
 05-16-2012, 08:51 PM
#7
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
User Info
Fantastic write-up. I'm book marking this page for future reference. The Eclipse Red Ring is the one thing that will satiate my RAD.

Perhaps some day..,

43 1,690
Reply
 05-17-2012, 04:42 AM
#8
User Info
This is the razor someone should copy in stainless. Not the freakin Tech.

9 451
Reply
 05-17-2012, 05:52 AM
#9
User Info
I just now noticed the ad at the bottom. Interesting to finally see the 5 different "models" and the varying prices. So basically the top end sold for 4 times as much as the low end. Very cool.

129 6,685
Reply
 05-17-2012, 10:06 AM
#10
User Info
Wait, how does it adjust? Did it come with spacers or something...
I sanded the edges back on a used blade and used it to shim up blades for my Tech. Ahhh, the good ole days of blood letting.

The New is a good razor, but I wouldn't say it's the best. IMO, any SE will run circles while performing juggling backflips around any razor Gillette ever designed.

9 451
Reply
 05-17-2012, 07:59 PM
#11
  • TexBilly
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Austin, TX
User Info
Great review and write up, Tony! An Eclipse slipped through my hands twice and I still think about the razor someday entering my nook. IF you get bored with yours, PM me! Rolleyes

35 2,703
Reply
 05-18-2012, 08:00 AM
#12
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
User Info
I've been searching too, but no luck yet (keep getting out bid)!

91 17,883
Reply
 05-18-2012, 09:33 AM
#13
  • Johnny
  • Super Moderator
  • Wausau, Wisconsin, USA
User Info
Tony, that was an excellent review. Thank you.

173 23,557
Reply
 05-18-2012, 10:06 AM
#14
  • Teiste
  • Moderator Emeritus
  • Salt Lake City,UT
User Info
Time to change Tony's title here.
My friend,Im trying to convince du212 to send me his Eclipse,since I have been looking for one too long now.After reading your BRILLIANT post,I need to get one yes or yes!
Thanks a lot my friend for such an informative post.

86 7,124
Reply
 05-18-2012, 11:44 AM
#15
User Info
Well, I want one.

9 166
Reply
 05-18-2012, 06:47 PM
#16
User Info
I would love to find one of these.

2 805
Reply
 05-18-2012, 06:54 PM
#17
  • uncledave
  • Returned to DE Shaving After 40 years
  • Kentucky, USA
User Info
An extraordinarily great review! You have excellent writing skills.

0 396
Reply
 08-31-2012, 12:23 PM
#18
User Info
Getty up...found one today.

pics are pre-cleaning and polishing.

Attached Files Image(s)
           

8 2,718
Reply
 10-29-2012, 07:12 AM
#19
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
User Info
I now have two of these in my possession. I stated above that perhaps an Eclipse Red Ring would satiate my RAD, but it has not. I want more. Specifically, I am looking for one with the Art Deco "Eclipse" motif on the top cap. Neither of mine have this. Info from another forum member suggests that based on the advertisements, the motif was found on the earlier razors and disappeared from later production. Either way, the motif is cool, and now I must have one.

But let me also say that I wouldn't be looking for another Red Ring if this weren't such a fantastic shaver (for me). I just finished using my "user grade" Red Ring for the last week, loaded with a Super Iridium. Towards the end of the week, as I became must comfortable with this razor, I achieved some of my best shaves with a DE.

The improvement toward the end of the week was the result of trying the "adjustable" feature of this razor. Yes, some Red Ring owners will denounce the adjustability of this razor, but not me. Here's how mine works: as I tighten the knob, I reach a zone of friction, where the top cap and blade are tightly secured, but there's a little blade gap. I can continue to tighten, reducing this blade gap until the knob won't tighten further. At this point, the blade pretty much lays flat against the comb. So there's maybe a millimeter or so of blade gap that can be adjusted in this friction zone, where as I said there is no play in the top cap or blade - it's all tight and secure. I would say the adjustment is like the difference between three clicks on a Fatboy, maybe one number on a Progress (I need to go back and compare).

It doesn't sound like much, but it made a big difference for me. I started with the Red Ring set to the largest blade gap in the friction zone. By day 3, my face was feeling a little rough. So I tightened the knob just a little (maybe 1/4 the distance between biggest blade gap and no blade gap), and every subsequent shave was just perfect. As I write this, I'm feeling the results of this morning's shave and couldn't be happier.

So now for the icing on the cake (for me, at least): this is an Eclipse Red Ring. A gorgeous, somewhat rare razor with a cool history. I am so delighted that this razor is more than just a collectable: for me it is one of the best DEs in my arsenal. I love it.

43 1,690
Reply
 10-29-2012, 07:33 AM
#20
  • bullgoose
  • The Enabler
  • Redondo Beach, California, U.S.A
User Info
Damn...my RAD is flaring up again. Dodgy Time for me to give Harvey a call.

45 16,363
Reply
Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)