03-22-2018, 01:46 AM
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Have a look a this Gillette Goodwill razor (picture found at Mr Razor's site), paying special attention to the top cap:
[Image: 1931-1935%20Goodwill%20Bakelite.jpg]
Now; look at what Mr  Henry Jaques Gaisman patented and later transferred to Gillette Co LLC, covering both the shape of the blade and the manner in which it was secured in the razor:
[Image: US1911996-0.png]
Look at the top cap, with the square cut-outs and corner posts. Look at the Goodwill again. Looks remarkable similar, do they not?
I do believe this is the patent that gave rise to the Goodwill - well, technically to the Probak.
Probak, I hear you say?
Turns out that the DE blade we know and love today isn't really a Gillette blade, but the result of an attempt to work around Gillette's patent on the three hole blade.
Mr Gaisman designed a blade that would work in his proprietary Probak razors (with oddly shaped studs - there was at least eight different base plates and top caps with different shaped studs) as well as in Gillette's razors; but none of his razors could not accept a Gillette three hole blade, thus neatly sidestepping the patent.
With Gillette working on a similar concept at the time - using a slotted blade - the resulting patent conflict ended when Gillette bought out Probak Corp (and their parent company, AutoStrop Co). The stock of Probak razors were given away or sold cheaply (sources differs) as the Gillette Goodwill, and that is the name they are known under today.
To wrap things up, lets look at a Probak advertisement and compare to today's DE-blade:

[Image: probakrz.gif]
[Image: best-safety-razor-blades-1024x502.jpg]
Apart from the shape of the middle hole - the X-shaped hole creates a lot of corners that 'trap' stress in the metal - the blade design is unmistakably Mr Gaisman's, and not Gillette's. And I only learned the story behind that because I found an old patent online... funny how things work sometimes.

3 8,070
 03-22-2018, 03:25 AM
  • eengler
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Great Post Hans!

68 5,620
 03-22-2018, 04:25 AM
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Comparing the Gillette Goodwill with the Probak patent application really makes it clear that there was a patent conflict.  Nice post.

There remains an open question whether Gaisman invented the razor/blade design that became the Probak or stole it.  Gillette maintained consistently that Gaisman (who had been asking Gillette to buy AutoStrop for years) engaged in industrial espionage, stole the Gillette design, and beat Gillette to the patent office.

Although technically a merger of the two companies, in reality it was Gillette who sold out to AutoStrop.  Gaisman of AutoStrop became the chairman of the new company, and the Gillette execs were out, some under a cloud of suspicion of financial irregularities in the deal.

29 332
 03-22-2018, 05:51 AM
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I have a probak and it is a great razor. I don't have a Goodwill but, from pictures, I did see the resemblance in top cap design. Was not curious enough to dig out the info. Thanks.

9 1,629
 03-22-2018, 06:39 AM
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Gillette adopted not only Gaisman's razor and blades designs but his superior blade manufacturing process as well. If there is any benefit of the doubt to be given regarding the original design dispute I give that benefit to Gaisman who had been designing alternatives to the three hole design since 1922.

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[Image: 37717631d15df7331d638e9db638834e.jpg]

2 477
 08-15-2019, 12:01 PM
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If anyone has more info on the espionage angle, I'm interested. Haha! Here is what I found so far. I added some pertinent illustrations to the Russell Adams pages that talk about the spying.

[Image: PjReNuB.jpg] 

[Image: WhonBBY.jpg]

I believe Gaisman had received a patent on Feb 7, 1928 (US1658435) from which he was going to make and market the Probak blades in late 1929; these had the "H" type blade holes - no corner cut outs and no slots. Later he discovered the Gillette's corner cut outs April 25, 1929 (US1924262) and horizontal slot designs Sept 26 1929 (US1826341). Then as per Russell Adams, he asked the patent office on Nov 25, 1929 to modify his 1928 patent US1658435 and have it reissued. This in essence had him having a Feb 7 1928 patent which predated any Gillette patents!!!! And again by Dec 10, 1929 he filed a new patent US1876906 complete with corner cut outs and "slot". Where did Gaisman get the idea for corner cutouts and the horizontal slot? Was it from Gillette's own patents (which were not yet issued and should have been secret) or was it from spies? In any case, Gillette was not willing to fight Gaisman in court to a decision and they bought him out for 310,000 shares or about $25 million and he and his crew started running Gillette. The minnow swallowed the whale. I could have it wrong, but I don't think so. Any other info about this year of 1929 and the spying?

0 63
 08-15-2019, 12:12 PM
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[Image: Ja9GtHB.jpg]

Special thanks to @jmudrick for giving me this Nov 1929 Probak advertisement. Notice the "H" type holes and no cutouts or horizontal slot.

0 63
 08-15-2019, 02:12 PM
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(08-15-2019, 12:12 PM)glennconti Wrote: [Image: Ja9GtHB.jpg]

Special thanks to @jmudrick for giving me this Nov 1929 Probak advertisement. Notice the "H" type holes and no cutouts or horizontal slot.
Per our discussion this ad appears as early as August '29.

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2 477
 08-15-2019, 05:01 PM
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"Auto Strop obliged by filing suit in the Delaware courts, charging that the Gillette blade infringed on the Probak patent for a cut-out center. Gillette’s answer alleged that the Probak patent adopted devices already known and used—and there the matter stands at present." Modern Mechanix 1931-June

"In the bitterness to come, it would be maintained by many at Gillette that Gaisman had planted at least two spies in the company's drafting department, and that these agents had purloined drawings and samples of the new Gillette blade." Russell Adams King C. Gillette 1975-P150

"Rumors that AutoStrop had surreptitiously obtained plans of the new Gillette razor, had quickly designed a blade to fit it, are roundly denied." TIME Magazine 1930-April-21

"The Probak blade and razor comprises a new razor construction and double-edged blade of duo-tempered steel, with channels designed to fit several double-razors now in common use. According to AutoStrop Safety Razor Company, the Probak blade was invented by Henry J. Gaisman, inventor of the valet autostrop razor." New York Times 1930-April-30-P22

So what was it... 1) Gaisman's patent had adopted devices already know? 2) Gaisman had spys steal Gillette's drawings? 3) Gaisman invented the Probak blade all on his own? or 4) Some official at the US Patent office had tipped Gaisman off of the new Gillette design? 5) Some advertising salesperson from a publication such as The Saturday Evening Post had shown Gaisman early proofs of the March 8 1930 announcement advertisement (remember, I believe ad copy needed to be in to the publisher 3 months prior to publication date and could have been the source of the leak). 

[Image: JLWHfZM.jpg]

This is the Probak blade advertisement just one week before the Gillette introductory advertisement...

[Image: VwemtZ4.jpg]

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