12-01-2022, 07:39 PM
#1
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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Fellow Nookers

This might be a bit of a lengthy post, but interesting, I hope.
 
I have uncovered what I think may be a prototype safety razor manufactured either by Emil Hermes (later marketing as Merkur) or acquired by Hermes from another maker, and sold utilising his brand. What I have acquired, however, is boxed and supplied - with seven original blades - under the name “Guido No.3”. There are reasons that I have come to my views, but these are by no means conclusive. I am wide open to discussion and encourage research/input/speculation.
 
Firstly, the razor has not arrived to me here in Sydney, and the pictures are fuzzy. I will correct this when I can. 
 
Secondly, the Waits Compendium refers to the Guido No.2 (many thanks to Hans!) but this has a slightly different case and handle. The head and baseplate is the same as the No.3. Logic suggests there must also have been a No.1 (and possibly a No.4?). I can find no details anywhere regarding who/what "Guido" is, however, I did find a reference to a certain “Guido Feiks”, manufacturer working out of Germany early last century, but no details are available. If anyone has any information, please let me know!
 
Now, the pictures. As you can see, the baseplate is flat, not curved. This is very unusual. The construction looks simple, I agree, and even a bit flimsy. The handle is very distinctively slender, and has that elaborate "double ring" look about it at the top end nearest the head. Also note the stamp on the underside of the baseplate: “Guido Safety Razor”. Note the box and clasp, the lettering of “Guido” and also the purple lining. The box is similar to very early Gillette Old Types, but they have the curved baseplate, suggesting the Guido pre-dates the Gillette. 

[Image: ScNkksL.jpg]

[Image: G81VqR6.jpg]

[Image: R37LvSU.jpg]



Below: the Guido No.2. Note the, different, heftier handle.

[Image: dDUz7nJ.jpg]

Now some supporting images. First, from the Dovo website (Moderators: is this ok?). Note the boxed razor pictured below from the “Early Models” section. The handle looks the same as that on the Guido No.3 but the head is a little more 'solid' looking, and does have the flat baseplate. Please also note the full-body Hermes logo used on the early Emil Hermes letterhead (on the Dovo website). Hermes is holding a staff known as a “caduceus”. I will come back to this a little later.

https://www.dovo.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/MERKUR_Katalog-Historie2014.pdf


[Image: opKlVCr.png]
Now, from the internet, an orange-boxed Hermes “Best Safety Razor” which has the same razor as the Guido No.3. Exactly the same razor, with the flat baseplate. Note that the Hermes trademark on the box is the same as that on the Emil Hermes letterhead. I am advised that this boxed set was produced around 1910, but there can be no certainty. There are no other pictures available, and therefore I cannot see if the baseplate on this example is stamped:

[Image: B9cQ0cf.jpg]

Lastly (for now) note the Guido blades. Sorry they are out of focus, but what is the little logo? Could it be… a stylised caduceus? Interesting.
 
So, are we looking at the first ever Emile Hermes/Merkur safety razor? Did Hermes sell these razors to other brands? We know Emil Hermes did market under different names such as “Diana” and “Polarstern”. Or did someone else make them and sell them to Hermes and others, including Guido?  Question: why would Emil Hermes buy razors from a third party if he was himself a maker? 
 
The jury is out, but one interesting fact remains: the flat baseplate. It may be a prototype.
 
I will make a second thread below to discuss some other, relevant points, as there were very similar razors also marketed as Hermes, but the head has a slight modification. 

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 12-01-2022, 07:59 PM
#2
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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These are other early Hermes razors, similar but the head has been modified/improved with a kind of flat metal spring. Look closely at the diagram in the lid, under the head; here you can see lettering and claps/springs at both ends. I call this the No.3, Version 2:

[Image: dZ0iBdK.jpg]
[Image: uhi49x9.jpg]

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 12-02-2022, 09:58 AM
#3
  • chazt
  • Super Moderator
  • Queens, NY
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Shaun, this is major. Once again you’ve presented superb documentary evidence of the history of razor production. Thank you for sharing! We look forward to seeing more photos when the razor arrives.

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 12-02-2022, 10:21 AM
#4
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Germany made quite a few "Flat Blade Razors", that's what I call them collectively, mine shaves nicely.


[Image: 7BTpqhh.jpg][Image: p5c6Szm.jpg][Image: TOMdS9j.jpg]



Here's some Guido razors from the web.


[Image: 78pnlOj.jpg]

[Image: c1sqsuM.jpg]

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 12-02-2022, 10:36 AM
#5
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"In this world of competition, everyone wish to look good and look smart. And for that, shaving has become one of the important activities that every man ought to be doing before beginning their day. A clean shaved face reflects the activeness of a man. A few years back, people hadn’t many choices when it came to the use of shaving razors and accessories. But as the competition grew, and more and more brands of razors started manufacturing a wide range of razors, people started having more choices. They are now more concerned about the quality and the brand of razors they use. Some 70 years back, Gillette manufactured the first safety razor, but only after the production of 3rd model, it stopped bringing more models into the market. But this was different in the case of Merkur Safety Razors; model of Merkur Safety Razors are being manufactured even today.


Originally named as Emil-Hermes Solingen-Merscheid (founder name and place), the Merkur brand is now well-know between wet shavers. Emil Hermes first began producing precision metal knives, instruments, and razors in Solingen, Germany in 1896. In 1922, the name of the company was changed to Emil Hermes Merkur-Werk, and it continued the manufacture a sweeping range of metal products, like clippers, knives and popular shaving instruments, including safety razors, straight razors, and razor blades."

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 12-02-2022, 10:38 AM
#6
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Merkur’s earliest safety razors featured a comb in which a wedge shaped blade fit into. The wedge was very similar to the look of a straight razor and also had to be honed like a straight razor in order to maintain it’s shave edge.

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 12-02-2022, 10:51 AM
#7
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Emil Hermes first razor patent was for a slant razor, patented in Germany prior to 1916, I can't find that patent.

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 12-02-2022, 11:42 AM
#8
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[Image: OtiFE0W.jpg][Image: p8kydvs.jpg][Image: xclPMce.jpg]


Another "Flat Blade Razor" that I bid on but didn't get.

.

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 12-02-2022, 11:53 AM
#9
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I believe @Dave in Ky has a Flat Blade German razor.

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 12-02-2022, 12:53 PM
#10
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(12-02-2022, 10:21 AM)TobyC Wrote: Germany made quite a few "Flat Blade Razors", that's what I call them collectively, mine shaves nicely.


[Image: 7BTpqhh.jpg][Image: p5c6Szm.jpg][Image: TOMdS9j.jpg]



Here's some Guido razors from the web.


[Image: 78pnlOj.jpg]

[Image: c1sqsuM.jpg]

This is wonderful! I tried to find other examples of the Guido, but had zero luck! How did you manage that? Do you know anything about the Guido? The maker, etc? The Guido No.2 (in the metal case) is the same as that from the Waits Compendium. The No.3 (and the orange-boxed Hermes) has that "double ring" look on the handle just under the head.

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 12-02-2022, 12:59 PM
#11
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(12-02-2022, 10:38 AM)TobyC Wrote: Merkur’s earliest safety razors featured a comb in which a wedge shaped blade fit into. The wedge was very similar to the look of a straight razor and also had to be honed like a straight razor in order to maintain it’s shave edge.

This is true, yes, but I suppose I was thinking more of the T-type double edge. I should have been clear. 

That "Standard Safety Razor" looks very solid! A very good find. Are the flat baseplate razors truly rare?

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 12-02-2022, 01:07 PM
#12
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(12-02-2022, 10:36 AM)TobyC Wrote: "In this world of competition, everyone wish to look good and look smart. And for that, shaving has become one of the important activities that every man ought to be doing before beginning their day. A clean shaved face reflects the activeness of a man. A few years back, people hadn’t many choices when it came to the use of shaving razors and accessories. But as the competition grew, and more and more brands of razors started manufacturing a wide range of razors, people started having more choices. They are now more concerned about the quality and the brand of razors they use. Some 70 years back, Gillette manufactured the first safety razor, but only after the production of 3rd model, it stopped bringing more models into the market. But this was different in the case of Merkur Safety Razors; model of Merkur Safety Razors are being manufactured even today.


Originally named as Emil-Hermes Solingen-Merscheid (founder name and place), the Merkur brand is now well-know between wet shavers. Emil Hermes first began producing precision metal knives, instruments, and razors in Solingen, Germany in 1896. In 1922, the name of the company was changed to Emil Hermes Merkur-Werk, and it continued the manufacture a sweeping range of metal products, like clippers, knives and popular shaving instruments, including safety razors, straight razors, and razor blades."

I have read this, yes. What it says is that Hermes 'continued' to manufacture razors (etc.) after settling on "Merkur-Werk" as a trade name. It is unknown when he first made or sold (either his own manufacture or another maker's but using his own trademark) the T-bar-type double edged safety razor.

All this information is very interesting, as it is building up a clearer picture. I am grateful.

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 12-02-2022, 01:37 PM
#13
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(12-02-2022, 09:58 AM)chazt Wrote: Shaun, this is major. Once again you’ve presented superb documentary evidence of the history of razor production. Thank you for sharing! We look forward to seeing more photos when the razor arrives.

It may be minor Wink

We'll be able to see where we are as more information comes to light. It is already trickling in. As I say, I am very open-minded about these things, and if my thoughts and intuitions are wrong, then at least we all benefit from the knowledge that certain lines of thinking and "evidence" can be eliminated.

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 12-02-2022, 02:09 PM
#14
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You guys are amazing.  I have trouble sorting through the history of Super Speeds.

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 12-02-2022, 02:50 PM
#15
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(12-02-2022, 12:53 PM)Shaun Wrote:
(12-02-2022, 10:21 AM)TobyC Wrote: Germany made quite a few "Flat Blade Razors", that's what I call them collectively, mine shaves nicely.


[Image: 7BTpqhh.jpg][Image: p5c6Szm.jpg][Image: TOMdS9j.jpg]



Here's some Guido razors from the web.


[Image: 78pnlOj.jpg]

[Image: c1sqsuM.jpg]

This is wonderful! I tried to find other examples of the Guido, but had zero luck! How did you manage that? Do you know anything about the Guido? The maker, etc? The Guido No.2 (in the metal case) is the same as that from the Waits Compendium. The No.3 (and the orange-boxed Hermes) has that "double ring" look on the handle just under the head.

Years ago, I would occasionally see folks with them over on Badger and Blade, most look like a Gillette single Ring but with the flat blade bed, some were unmarked and some said "Germany" or "Made in Germany". I've only seen two recently, and I bought one of them, and didn't "win" the other. The only place I found any reference to the Guido is  http://www.shaveworld.org/shave_encyclop...elect6link=[url=htthttp://www.shaveworld.org/shave_encyclopedia.php?page=34&category=Safety&querytype=back&select1link=&select2link=&select3link=&select4link=&select5link=&select6link=p://][/url]

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 12-02-2022, 02:53 PM
#16
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(12-02-2022, 12:59 PM)Shaun Wrote:
(12-02-2022, 10:38 AM)TobyC Wrote: Merkur’s earliest safety razors featured a comb in which a wedge shaped blade fit into. The wedge was very similar to the look of a straight razor and also had to be honed like a straight razor in order to maintain it’s shave edge.

This is true, yes, but I suppose I was thinking more of the T-type double edge. I should have been clear. 

That "Standard Safety Razor" looks very solid! A very good find. Are the flat baseplate razors truly rare?

That razor is fairly thick brass with a solid brass handle, good weight to it.

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 12-02-2022, 03:00 PM
#17
  • Shaun
  • Senior Member
  • St Peters, NSW, Australia
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(12-02-2022, 02:50 PM)TobyC Wrote:
(12-02-2022, 12:53 PM)Shaun Wrote:
(12-02-2022, 10:21 AM)TobyC Wrote: Germany made quite a few "Flat Blade Razors", that's what I call them collectively, mine shaves nicely.
Years ago, I would occasionally see folks with them over on Badger and Blade, most look like a Gillette single Ring but with the flat blade bed, some were unmarked and some said "Germany" or "Made in Germany". I've only seen two recently, and I bought one of them, and didn't "win" the other. The only place I found any reference to the Guido is HERE.

Toby: Guido link not working!

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 12-02-2022, 04:50 PM
#18
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https://www.1stdibs.com/fashion/handbags...?gclsrc=ds

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 12-02-2022, 04:51 PM
#19
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(12-02-2022, 03:00 PM)Shaun Wrote:
(12-02-2022, 02:50 PM)TobyC Wrote: Years ago, I would occasionally see folks with them over on Badger and Blade, most look like a Gillette single Ring but with the flat blade bed, some were unmarked and some said "Germany" or "Made in Germany". I've only seen two recently, and I bought one of them, and didn't "win" the other. The only place I found any reference to the Guido is HERE.

Toby: Guido link not working!

Oops!

http://www.shaveworld.org/shave_encyclop...elect6link=

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 12-02-2022, 05:08 PM
#20
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Here's one that's had the combs filed off.

Vintage Success Safety Razor Co. Razor - made in Germany


https://www.ebay.com/itm/255469653953?ha...R_DPndiaYQ

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