04-25-2015, 06:53 PM
#1
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,
Thought I'd share. I was at a monthly pistol match where we shoot steel plates and one of guys in our squad say, "Hey, I have something for you."

He pulls out a small box and in it is a GEM Pat 1912 short handle razor with original radio steel blades still in their paper. He was telling me he thinks it is a WWI military issue pack, but could be sure.

I was floored. I told him thank you and that I'd do some digging to date the razor. From what I can tell it could be from around 1919 ish? When I looked online I found some old magazine ads the radio steel blades.

I'll post pictures Monday. I left it at the office when I was researching it. 

Funny thing though, I bought a Stag sharpener because is had a near pristine SWATY razor hone that is ideal for straight razors. It turn out that the stag sharpener was made for these GEM blades. The paperwork that came with the Stag sharpeners has a patent date of 1916.

- Mike

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 04-25-2015, 07:15 PM
#2
  • eengler
  • Administrator
  • South Dakota, USA
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Look forward to the photos.

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 04-25-2015, 07:25 PM
#3
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Cool! It's neat to find one in the wild, even nicer to have it find you!

The original blades probably aren't worth using, but modern blades are available. If you need a few to get going contact me.

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 04-27-2015, 06:37 AM
#4
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

Yes, it was very to nice to have find me. Here are a few snaps.

[Image: IMG_1507.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1508.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1509.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1510.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1511.jpg]


Here is the sharpener I was talking about.

[Image: P1010331.jpg]

[Image: P1010344.jpg]

Can you use persona blades from CSV or do they need to say they are for GEM?

- Mike

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 04-27-2015, 06:42 AM
#5
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(04-27-2015, 06:37 AM)mbrando Wrote: Hello,

Yes, it was very to nice to have find me. Here are a few snaps.


[Image: IMG_1507.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1508.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1509.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1510.jpg]

[Image: IMG_1511.jpg]


Here is the sharpener I was talking about.

[Image: P1010331.jpg]

[Image: P1010344.jpg]

Can you use persona blades from CSV or do they need to say they are for GEM?

- Mike
Interesting discovery. Do you plan on shaving with that razor? It's intimidating, to say the least.  Eyepop

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 04-27-2015, 11:58 AM
#6
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

I figured I'd give it a try. It's already a used razor so trying it won't ruin it. Biggrin 

- Mike

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 04-27-2015, 09:16 PM
#7
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That's a Gem 1912 Damaskeene in a military kit. While not super-rare, they are not common, either. The fact that is says "Gem Cutlery Co" on the back indicates it was made 1916-1919. 

These are great shavers. The CVS blades will work just fine. Ensure that the blade is firmly seated under the blade stops, use a light touch and a shallow angle (the cap of the razor almost against your face).

The Stag sharpener is more of a novelty. 

Enjoy!

--Bob

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 04-28-2015, 11:53 AM
#8
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If you have a Rite-Aid they have the GEM SE SS blades, SS won't rust nor require extra care after the shave. But the first few shaves can be a bit dicey with them. They require a break in.

CVS blades are GEM SE carbon steel blades and they will rust without care after the shave. Open the razor, and dry off the blade. I like to put a few drops of mineral oil on the edge after it's dry.

The Damaskeene is a decent and IMO fairly mild shaver. It's a good first SE razor. I use mine to break in the GEM SS blades for the first 4 shaves. After 4 shaves the blades get really good. I used my Damaskeene just last night for shave #2 on a fresh CS blade.

Let us know how it goes for you.

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 04-28-2015, 12:45 PM
#9
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

Nice. All really good info. I'm off to CSV for some blades. I used the clippers to remove my go-t yesterday and need a proper shave.

I'll post back comments. Thanks

- Mike

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 04-28-2015, 06:09 PM
#10
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hey Guys,

I stopped at CVS on the way home from work to get some single edge blades. They only SE blades they had were CVS house brand. I was reluctant, however bought them. Took a shower, lathered up some Proraso from the tube, let stand for about a minute then started shaving. It took a little fiddling with the angle, its different from a standard DE, however I fell in to the swing quickly. It was a very comfortable shave with grain first pass and against grain second pass. I re-lathered between. 

I like it. Smile 

I like the stiffness of the single edge blade. It seems to have a little reward cushion.

The CVS house brand blades performed well too. I think I like it better than my Gellett DE. Thumbup 

This will definitely be the rotation

- Mike

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 04-28-2015, 10:45 PM
#11
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Glad you liked it!

Those blades are GEM carbon steel blades despite what the package states. If you look closely at the fine print on the package, maybe even the dispenser, it will say made by ASR, that's Personna aka GEM. There will also be a 009rd marked on the spine, or I think that's the code (it's been awhile), that means it's carbon steel, the blade is .009" thick and they are regular duty. If it was stainless steel it would be marked as such. Take care of those blades and they have the potential to give many shaves. You'll know when the blade has had enough because it won't cut efficiently anymore. They won't draw blood the way a dull DE blade will. The SS blades act the same way; they just stop cutting whiskers efficiently. If I take care of the 009 blade I can get a dozen shaves out of one, while the SS blades easily give me 20 or more shaves when I move it into an aggressive razor after breaking them in on a milder SE razor.

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 04-29-2015, 04:34 AM
#12
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

It makes sense CVS would get a good vendor for the house brand.

I turned a friend on to a DE a few years ago. He still talks about it. I'll have to send him an SE shave kit this year.

- Mike

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 04-29-2015, 05:22 PM
#13
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

Yup they are marked 009rd. An they must be carbon steel too. I did not dry the blade well and it has rust marks on its sides but not on the edge. I oiled it and will dry it better next time.

-Mike

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 05-03-2015, 07:11 AM
#14
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If it doesn't shave "right" the edge is rusted. It can rust so that the rust can be seen, but they also rust in an invisible way and that rust removes the incredibly fine edge required for a good shave. Unless you put it under magnification it can't be seen.

Next time you pass a Rite-Aid stop in and get some of their SE blades and those will be no care after the shave type SS blades. One hitch... I and many others find that they get really good after 3-4 "break in" shaves. I use a milder razor for that, then they go into whatever razor I chose. I've been known to get over 30 comfortable BBS shaves from one SS blade. The character of the blade does change over that time, but that doesn't mean it gets uncomfortable in any way. Eventually it just stops cutting whiskers, but unlike a DE blade it won't draw blood when too dull to work. I find it's cutting  efficiency lowers and it would require more passes to get the same shave. Then it's time to change the blade.

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 05-03-2015, 04:33 PM
#15
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

The blade appears to shave fine after my laps in judgement. However, I will see about grabbing some of those other blades too.

- Mike

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 05-08-2015, 11:04 AM
#16
  • HarryO
  • Active Member
  • FLA, USA.
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(05-03-2015, 04:33 PM)mbrando Wrote: Hello,

The blade appears to shave fine after my laps in judgement. However, I will see about grabbing some of those other blades too.

- Mike

Hi All, A friend of mine suggested a Gem to take along on my travels. I got a Gem 1930’s, Micromatic , SE Razor. I got some Gem SS, SE razor blades and dropped one in. I had meant to give it a try out before leaving home. Well today was the try out and I must report that it was the closest shave that I got with the fewer number of passes. Just 2. One with the grain and one ATG. A better shave then my Mongoose ( only shaved with the goose 2 times) and a closer shave then my Feather DS2 with a Feather blade. Go figure! Must be the angle of the blade. Razor and blade did not bite me one time. Finish the shave off with cold water rinse ,   some witch hazel , another cold water rinse, then some Lucky Tiger, and then some RSB. I will check in a day for any  facial irritation. Harry

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 05-08-2015, 11:25 AM
#17
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello Harry,

That is pretty much my thoughts too. These are really great shavers. Makes you wonder why anyone move away from them in the first place.

- Mike

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 05-09-2015, 12:25 PM
#18
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It's assumed by folks who know more than I do about the subject that it was marketing by Gillette that did them in.

Just look at this forum or any other forum for blade shaving and 90% of the folks on it don't even know that SE razors exist. Or that was the way it was before we began discussing them openly. When most folks think of blade shaving they automatically think DE razors. Marketing did that; of course we've had many decades for the brainwashing to be complete, but once the scales started to tip toward DE, the makers of SE razors couldn't stay viable anymore. One needs to move x amount of product to stay in business.

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 05-11-2015, 05:34 AM
#19
  • mbrando
  • Member
  • Bolingbrook, IL USA
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Hello,

That figures. You don't know what you don't know until you peek behind the current. I think there a lot of things like that in life. AC electric Vs. DC electric. Gas vs. Diesel ... etc.

- Mike

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 05-11-2015, 05:36 AM
#20
  • Agravic
  • Super Moderator
  • Pennsylvania, USA
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I'm a recent convert here, and am perplexed with myself for overlooking this entire class of razors until now.

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