01-26-2022, 08:34 PM
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Thanks to razors.click, I recently learned that in early 1930 Mr Joseph Richard Lillicrap filed a patent application for a uranium glass hone for razor blades. And while we may both wonder why you would hone a blade, and freak out a bit over, y’know, uranium in the bathroom… well, let me try to explain.

While a blade today may be just pennies, it was just pennies back then too.. but pennies were worth more. So it made sense to eke as much out of each blade, just as a user of a cartridge razor will try to get as many shaves as possible out of each cart.
So there was a lot of different razor blade sharpeners on the market. Previously I’ve mentioned some before, including a desktop modelone you could make yourself, and a glass one. Sharpening razor blades just made sense. Double so if you had just lived through the Depression. Waste not, want not.
Uranium glass was also not uncommon between the wars. Consisting of regular glass with various amounts of uranium added, it was – and is – mostly harmless. The addition of the uranium was mostly for the yellow-green colour and florescence. After the War uranium glass have become a lot less common, in part due to the fact that uranium have been needed elsewhere.
The actual uranium glass hone is fairly straight forward. A semi-circular glass shape. Raised edges to keep the blade in place. An acid etched surface to increase the honing action. And that is about it.
Granted, the patent uses a lot more words to describe it:
Quote:The hone or sharpener A is moulded as a block of glass with a curved concave surface a extending longitudinally and a flange or shoulder a1 at one edge to serve as a guide and to keep the razor blade B in position during the operation of sharpening.
The glass of which the hone or sharpener A is made may be of known composition but a glass containing uranium as an ingredient is at present preferred.
The curved concave surface a of the hone or sharpener is etched or frosted to remove the natural glaze or polish of the lass as it is found that an etched or frosted surface gives the best sharpening effect.

[Image: GB_346057_A-757x1024.png]
Patent drawing for the uranium glass hone for safety razor blades

To use, the shaver would take the blade out of the razor and place in the hone. After optionally adding an abrasive paste, he would move it back and forth a few time. Flip it over to repeat, then put it back in the razor and shave.
Or in the words of the patent;
Quote:For sharpening the razor blade it is placed flat on the concave surface a of the hone A as shown with its end against the flange or shoulder a1 and moved lightly to and fro over the curved surface.
For once a patent is clear and straight forward…

The need for sharpening razor blades might be less today than it was during and after the Depression. Even so, a hone like this should work well. And who wouldn’t want a softly glowing, green vintage glass hone in their shave den?
I’m not at all convinced that there is a marked for a newly made uranium glass hone, though. Razor blades are, after all, just pennies per blade.
You can read the full patent at razors.click, and also at Espacenet.

3 8,134
 01-27-2022, 05:28 AM
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
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Man, this is so cool. I like this one a lot Hans. You’re right of course. Who wouldn’t want a softly glowing, green vintage glass hone in their shave den?

22 7,071
 01-29-2022, 02:44 PM
  • 2Chops
  • Senior Member
  • North Central PA
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I love these patent posts of yours.  This one in particular would ve a cool find.  Especially if wandering through an antique market, seeing this, or one of the other odd shave gizmos I've seen here, knowing what I'm looking at and being able to get it for a good deal and/or just telling the shop keeper what exactly the thing is if he didn't really know.

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