08-16-2012, 08:49 AM
#1
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I've never had much use for TTO razors.I always viewed them as having an array of needless moving parts to allow lazy people to make easy blade changes and that surely the blade couldn't be fixed as solidly or accurately as one would expect of a quality 2 or 3 piece razor.

I've shaved with late 40's & 70's SuperSpeeds a President.....but not much...definitely wasn't impressed.

This past weekend my skin was a bit sensitive so I wanted to shake things up and try something different.....pulled a like new '57 SuperSpeed from my "collection" that I'd only used it once in the past,only for a few strokes...not even for a full shave just to get a sense of what it was about.

Tossed a new Astra SP in the '57 Started shaving and immediately noticed that this lightweight TTO that I was piloting with a gentle touch seemed to be shaving circles around most everything else I've been using over the past year.

Seems to have a good bit of blade gap,exceptionally efficient at making whiskers disappear yet incredibly smooth.The shave was somewhat reminiscent of a stainless steel Weber yet more nimble in tight spots and very lively with big time feedback....could easily hear it singing loud & clear as it whisker whacked.Surprisingly somehow it even trims well around around my goatee,better than any other CC's I've tried.

Woke up late but squeezed in a run this morning which didn't leave me much time for shaving.Started off with my OLD ,felt rushed...after a few strokes my hand without even consulting my brain set it down...reached for the '57 : Game Over.

I don't want to like this razor but it's kicking ass and refuses to be ignored.

I'm weak on TTO history,Is there anything different about the late 50's SuperSpeeds that would impact the shave compared to other years ? Why the hell does this razor work so well ?

Can any of you TTO experts provide any quick & dirty maintenance tricks ? Mineral oil ? WD 40 ? Etc...?

I want to take good care of this one,it's taking great care of me.

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 08-16-2012, 09:04 AM
#2
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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The Gillette Super Speeds are one of the best TTO ever made. To me the best of the best is the non adjustable red tips. Great balance and more weight. Gillette got rid of all their machinery when the cartridge era started. As far as mineral oil or WD-40 is concerned don't use them. A good rinse and Scrubbing Bubbles is all you will ever need to keep them in tip top shape. If you know how to disassemble them that would be ideal but don't even think about it unless you know what you are doing. There are a lot of internal parts in the handle running to the head.

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 08-16-2012, 09:13 AM
#3
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(08-16-2012, 09:04 AM)slantman Wrote: As far as mineral oil or WD-40 is concerned don't use them. A good rinse and Scrubbing Bubbles is all you will ever need to keep them in tip top shape.

I agree. Just air dry the razor, with the head open, between shaves, and don't abuse it. Oils just collect dust and gunk them up.

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 08-16-2012, 09:17 AM
#4
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(08-16-2012, 09:04 AM)slantman Wrote: The Gillette Super Speeds are one of the best TTO ever made. To me the best of the best is the non adjustable red tips. Great balance and more weight. Gillette got rid of all their machinery when the cartridge era started. As far as mineral oil or WD-40 is concerned don't use them. A good rinse and Scrubbing Bubbles is all you will ever need to keep them in tip top shape. If you know how to disassemble them that would be ideal but don't even think about it unless you know what you are doing. There are a lot of internal parts in the handle running to the head.

* No mineral oil. The soap residue is enough lubrication for razors. Enjoy the superspeed.

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 08-16-2012, 12:11 PM
#5
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Sounds like rinse it off let it dry,some scrubbing bubbles once in a while and don't do anything stupid like drop it.

My memories of my Dad's razors when he was around are only of his SuperSpeeds,never saw him use anything else.I'm pretty objective and tend to shave with what's most effective.For some reason when I got into DE shaving I never was able to like anUy of the TTO's I tried,although it would have been nice to shave with something I remember my Dad using.

I may need to do some research,I vaguely remember the head of the SuperSpeeds changed in shape and size at some point and of course other changes during the years.What I'm looking for is why the '57 seems to shave the best (for me at least) of the TTO's I've tried.

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 08-16-2012, 12:15 PM
#6
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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(08-16-2012, 12:11 PM)razorx Wrote: Sounds like rinse it off let it dry,some scrubbing bubbles once in a while and don't do anything stupid like drop it.

My memories of my Dad's razors when he was around are only of his SuperSpeeds,never saw him use anything else.I'm pretty objective and tend to shave with what's most effective.For some reason when I got into DE shaving I never was able to like anUy of the TTO's I tried,although it would have been nice to shave with something I remember my Dad using.

I may need to do some research,I vaguely remember the head of the SuperSpeeds changed in shape and size at some point and of course other changes during the years.What I'm looking for is why the '57 seems to shave the best (for me at least) of the TTO's I've tried.

It seems that 57' was made for you. I don't think Gillette would tinker with the blade angle as they produced millions all the same.

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 08-16-2012, 01:37 PM
#7
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I'm not quite sure if anything on Gillette's TTO heads is different but for some reason my '53 President is my favorite it just seems to work even better than my '40s Super speed.

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 08-16-2012, 03:56 PM
#8
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The non-adjustable TTOs are in my opinion very blade sensitive. You may find that using the Astra SP in the President might change your mind.

I prefer the 1940s Supers over the 1950s due to a slight balance toward the head with the 1940s series. Now, if you want more aggression get a Red Tip 1950's Super. It has a larger gap than any of the other Super Speeds.

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 08-16-2012, 05:17 PM
#9
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I like the Gillette TTOs but the handles are just too short for me. I feel like I need to put my index finger in top of the TTO doors while I shave.

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 08-16-2012, 05:37 PM
#10
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(08-16-2012, 01:37 PM)sunflake Wrote: I'm not quite sure if anything on Gillette's TTO heads is different but for some reason my '53 President is my favorite it just seems to work even better than my '40s Super speed.

I'll go back and try to work with the President a bit more,maybe tweak my technique,the handle's great,feels as good as it looks.
(08-16-2012, 03:56 PM)GDCarrington Wrote: The non-adjustable TTOs are in my opinion very blade sensitive. You may find that using the Astra SP in the President might change your mind.

I prefer the 1940s Supers over the 1950s due to a slight balance toward the head with the 1940s series. Now, if you want more aggression get a Red Tip 1950's Super. It has a larger gap than any of the other Super Speeds.

The '57s blade gap seems about right,as for the President,man I wish I liked it more.I'll always hang onto it.My Wife's Grandfather was the original owner,and it was barely used,it's in flawless condition.I'll give the Astra SP's a shot,maybe shave with it a few times and see if I can find the missing link.

Thanks for the comparisons and contrasts between different era's.I've learned there's some subtle differences in different production years that aren't well known and seldom mentioned that can make a noticible impact on the shave.An example is the little changes in baseplate and cap of the Gillette OLDs from 1918 through the 20's for instance...They obviously changed during 1921 but during the 20's it seems that the design was tweaked subtly.

(08-16-2012, 05:17 PM)CyanideMetal Wrote: I like the Gillette TTOs but the handles are just too short for me. I feel like I need to put my index finger in top of the TTO doors while I shave.

I hear ya,my hands are fairly large.I wasn't paying much attention but I'm pretty sure I'm gripping the handle with just my thumb,index finger & middle finger tips.It's so darn light it seems effortless to control.I never realized it until reading this now,but when you think about the fine control that grip offers....it may be enhancing the quality of my shave.It's definitely not one of those "let the weight of the razor do the work for ya" type of shaver.I'm getting outstanding feedback,comparitively speaking...I feel like (stay with me here... lol) I'm not so much about controlling the razor,it's more like I'm actually linked straight to the blade.

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 08-16-2012, 07:46 PM
#11
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I use the Astra SP as well it's fantastic in the Prez.

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 08-16-2012, 07:54 PM
#12
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It's a smidge on the lightweight side and the handle's a mite short. But I LOVE my '64 Super Speed!

Only a couple of blades don't "agree" with this little beauty and that's fine by me. One ax is never enough for the job, no?

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 08-17-2012, 03:46 AM
#13
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
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I am just learning about the blade sensitivity issue in the old Gillette non-adjustables.
The Super Speeds require sharp and smooth for me; Astra SP, Gillette Yellow, Blue, etc. The Tech's require extra sharp and smooth, say Feather, Kai, Gillette Black,etc.

With the adjustables, I can take my pick.

Once I figured that out, no more frustration. Biggrin


(08-16-2012, 03:56 PM)GDCarrington Wrote: The non-adjustable TTOs are in my opinion very blade sensitive. You may find that using the Astra SP in the President might change your mind.

I prefer the 1940s Supers over the 1950s due to a slight balance toward the head with the 1940s series. Now, if you want more aggression get a Red Tip 1950's Super. It has a larger gap than any of the other Super Speeds.

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 08-17-2012, 09:45 AM
#14
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
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I prefer the deeper arch doors of the earlier SuperSpeeds, especially the 47' in particular- dead nuts blade alignment compared to the notched center bars. Going British, the Aristocrat Jr. is a very strong contender in my den, especially when time is of the essence and I don't care to be analyzing every stroke, it just works.

I do like my red tip as JD recommended, best knurling of the bunch. The later shallow door SuperSpeeds are a tad more nimble, but weight balance and build quality went down IMO.

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 08-17-2012, 11:51 AM
#15
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(08-16-2012, 07:54 PM)Michael G Wrote: It's a smidge on the lightweight side and the handle's a mite short. But I LOVE my '64 Super Speed!

Only a couple of blades don't "agree" with this little beauty and that's fine by me. One ax is never enough for the job, no?

I'm not much of a rotation guy,I generally shave with one or two of my favorites,but yes variety is good especially when I'm stuck in a rut.Switching to a different razor than usual forces me to get a deeper look into what I doing.

Went through a rough few shaves with my go to razor (Gillette OLD+iKon Bamboo Handle) following an extended run with an iKon S3S.I felt like I should shake things up and pull out a SuperSpeed.

Definitely a lightweight especially after shaving with an S3S.I like light razors and find they're easily controlled with my thumb and 2 fingertips....letting "the weight of the razor do the work" even though it's a lightweight shaver.

Funny thing is the SuperSpeed's qualities helped "coach" me,gave me some perspective to see my S3S technique had spilled over into how I was shaving with my Bamboo OLD.Went half and half with the SuperSpeed and the OLD this morning felt back in the groove all the way around.

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 08-17-2012, 02:17 PM
#16
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(08-17-2012, 09:45 AM)Shanman Wrote: I prefer the deeper arch doors of the earlier SuperSpeeds, especially the 47' in particular- dead nuts blade alignment compared to the notched center bars. Going British, the Aristocrat Jr. is a very strong contender in my den, especially when time is of the essence and I don't care to be analyzing every stroke, it just works.

I do like my red tip as JD recommended, best knurling of the bunch. The later shallow door SuperSpeeds are a tad more nimble, but weight balance and build quality went down IMO.

That's what I remember,that the doors (essentially the overall shape of the SuperSpeed razor head) changed to being arched higher at some point.

Early after going to DE shaving armed with a stereotypical Merkur 34C I then acquired mint 47,48 & 49 SuperSpeeds that I surely paid too much for.One of the 3 was noticeably smoother than the other 2....can't remember which.Overall I don't remember any of them shaving as well for me as the 1957 but my technique has improved since then so hard to say I can't make a fair comparison.

Wasn't using the late 40's SupperSpeeds much and sold them all except for an NOS '49 that I've never shaved with and probably never will.

It might be interesting to pick up a user grade late 40's SS and see if my thoughts are the same.

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 08-18-2012, 12:26 AM
#17
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Superspeeds are great razors and for the most part on the mild side. I'm assuming they got their name from the fact that they really let you zip through your shave and do a darn good job at it. A few weeks ago I started getting bad shaves with my EJ89 and switched to my flairtip SS and haven't looked back since.

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 08-18-2012, 09:22 AM
#18
  • Shanman
  • Reserve Collection Squirrel Hair
  • NE Florida
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Name came from fast blade changes due to easy TTO design.

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 08-18-2012, 09:45 AM
#19
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(08-18-2012, 12:26 AM)BladeDE40 Wrote: A few weeks ago I started getting bad shaves with my EJ89 and switched to my flair tip SS and haven't looked back since.

And come back to it another time. Maybe with a different blade or lather, too. You'll be surprised how a razor can improve itself by sitting on a shelf for a spell.

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 08-18-2012, 05:48 PM
#20
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(08-16-2012, 09:17 AM)celestino Wrote:
(08-16-2012, 09:04 AM)slantman Wrote: The Gillette Super Speeds are one of the best TTO ever made. To me the best of the best is the non adjustable red tips. Great balance and more weight. Gillette got rid of all their machinery when the cartridge era started. As far as mineral oil or WD-40 is concerned don't use them. A good rinse and Scrubbing Bubbles is all you will ever need to keep them in tip top shape. If you know how to disassemble them that would be ideal but don't even think about it unless you know what you are doing. There are a lot of internal parts in the handle running to the head.

* No mineral oil. The soap residue is enough lubrication for razors. Enjoy the superspeed.

Thanks.... Still getting great shaves.

I never imagined soap residue could smoehow help lubricate a razor.

(08-18-2012, 12:26 AM)BladeDE40 Wrote: Superspeeds are great razors and for the most part on the mild side. I'm assuming they got their name from the fact that they really let you zip through your shave and do a darn good job at it. A few weeks ago I started getting bad shaves with my EJ89 and switched to my flairtip SS and haven't looked back since.

Yeah thought it was getting better,but still in a slump with my OLD,doesn't seem to be as effective as usual and really getting a lot of irritation...so back to the "57 SS again this morning.

That word mild is difficult for me to work with.I know my '57 SS is considerly more effective than the CC side of the iKon OSS and close to being as effective as a Weber.

(08-18-2012, 09:45 AM)Michael G Wrote:
(08-18-2012, 12:26 AM)BladeDE40 Wrote: A few weeks ago I started getting bad shaves with my EJ89 and switched to my flair tip SS and haven't looked back since.

And come back to it another time. Maybe with a different blade or lather, too. You'll be surprised how a razor can improve itself by sitting on a shelf for a spell.

Truer words were never written...

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