08-06-2018, 09:04 PM
#1
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Time to head down the the rabbit hole of old razors again, this time looking at a travel razor that differs significantly from the more common types.

[Image: Vintage_Newspaper_Advertising_For_The_Tr...1%2529.jpg]
A while back I found this old advertisement on the 'net, and decided to start digging a bit. After all, a razor that folds flat, fit in your pocket and carries a total of five blades sounds wonderful, right?

Covered by US patent 229844A, the Trav-a-long - or Travalong, as it's described in Waits' Compendium - folded into a neat rectangle measuring 1 by 2 by ¼ inces (2.5 by 5.0 by 0.6 cm).
[Image: US2298944-0.png]
The Travalong sold in a cardboard box or a leather pouch with a snap, and was available in either chrome satin, silver, or gold finishes - and to make things more complicated it was also sold under the name of Tru-Flex.

Based on how many pictures there is online of the Travalong, the razor must have sold reasonable well, but most probably didn't see too much use. It is, after all, a travel razor and not a razor for every day use.

Speaking of pictures, here is a few I found online:

[img=304x245]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/Vintage_Travalong_Men's_Travel_Safety_Razor_By_The_Pak_Company_Of_Cleveland%2C_Ohio%2C_Circa_1945_(23624706299).jpg[/img]
[Image: 23966755966_94bc22b1a6_b.jpg]
[Image: vintage-unique-travalong-traveling_1_804...1547c9.jpg]
[Image: Vintage-Travalong-Safety-Razor-Rare.jpg]
From a mechanical and technical point of view it is a very interesting and somewhat challenging design, relying on using the two arms that hold the razor head as flat springs to hold it securely - which means the tempering of the two arms are critical to get just right.
From a shaver's point of view the handle shape will be a radical departure from the norm, but for the occasional use that shouldn't be a major issue.
The patent have - obviously - lapsed, so if any aspiring machinist or CNC-operator out there want to have a go at this, it's a free and already proven concept.

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 08-07-2018, 03:39 AM
#2
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That's another interesting design.  The patent dates and advertisement suggest it was designed as a pocket razor for WWII American servicemen.  But in 1942, the War Production Board ordered that all metal razors be produced exclusively for the military.  I wonder if that doomed this razor.  Or perhaps the marketing for servicemen was the manufacturer's work around.  In any event, during the war, Gillette was cranking out millions of Tech razors -- virtually its entire production -- for the same market and had a huge military contract to do so.

These travel razors have me wondering about the razor habits of men in the early and mid-1900's.  If the variety of travel razors is any indication, some guys used to carry a razor around with them in their pockets and had a serious concern about the size of a standard DE razor.  Women too:  There were a bunch of miniature razors designed for women to carry in a pocket book so they could touch up their underarms on the fly.  I don't know anyone today -- male or female -- who walks around with a razor in his/her pocket or purse.

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