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Gillette Old Type Head
07-15-2013, 06:05 PM (This post was last modified: 07-15-2013 09:54 PM by Jabberwock.)
Post: #1
Gillette Old Type Head
The entrepreneur King Gillette revolutionized the world of wet shaving when he patented the disposable blade double edge safety razor (the patent was submitted in 1901 and approved in 1904).  This new razor was included in the issued field gear of every American service man during World War I, and the returning troops were even allowed to keep these new razors upon their return state side. In one fell swoop Gillette managed to create a huge new market for a relatively simple and easy to manufacture piece of equipment with a built in huge demand.  Eventually Gillette would move on from the first design to create many new and different styles of razors, but this first disposable blade double edge safety razor (currently known as the Gillette Old Type) remained a popular razor.  The Gillette Old Type three piece razor can be found relatively easily in antique shops and on-line sites, thanks in large part to its initial wide spread use and popularity.  It is still a fairly popular razor with many dedicated collectors and users.  A razor that came out 110 years ago (the Gillette Old Type was first released in 1903) and is still used and loved today must have a lot going for it, so when I was given the opportunity to use this historic and storied razor I jumped at it.

I was PIFed a Gillette Old Type razor head by churchilllafemme, a generous member here on The Shave Nook. I have never used an open comb razor before and am really looking forward to trying out this razor head.  It fit reasonably well on my Sik Bay plastic razor handle and more or less fit on my Edwin Jagger DE86 handle (it did not tighten down all of the way on the DE86 handle without a blade, but seemed to lose pretty much all of its extra play once a blade was installed).  I have a Gillette fat handled Tech coming soon, so I am betting that the fat handle will work out better, but until then I'll use what I have on hand.

The head was a bit beat up aesthetically speaking, but in perfectly functional condition.  I cleaned, sanded, and polished the head to reveal some pretty brass and an extremely nice looking razor head.  I left the bottom of the base plate alone because it still had most of its plating on it.  One of the end teeth is slightly bent, but not enough to worry about, so I left that alone too.  I'm very happy with how well this head turned out and I look forward to using it.  I planned on skipping my shave tomorrow, so I may not pull it out until Wednesday.  I'll keep you fine folks posted, but until then here are some before and after pictures (my tablet's camera does not have a macro option, so you'll have to forgive the mediocre quality):

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Before shot #1


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Before shot #2


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After shot #1


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After shot #2


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After shot #3


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After shot #4


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On Sik Bay handle #1


[Image: wpid-img_20130715_205039.jpg]
On Sik Bay handle #2
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07-15-2013, 08:02 PM
Post: #2
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
Nice! The Tech style handle will certainly give it a complete and well balanced feel.

The Gillette Old head is much like the pre 2011 Muhle Open Comb head in appearance, but IMO it has slightly more weight and substance and is a tad more aggressive.

In terms of both quality, weight and effectiveness I'd rate the visually similar 3 piece open comb heads as follows (from least to most):

Merkur
Muhle (pre 2011, not the current tooth comb)
Gillette Old

Here is my re-plated Gillette Old with Tech style handle...

[Image: mBQqDez.png]
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07-15-2013, 08:05 PM (This post was last modified: 07-15-2013 08:05 PM by Jabberwock.)
Post: #3
Re: Gillette Old Type Head
That's a nice looking replate job, and I really like the way it looks with the fat Tech handle.

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07-16-2013, 11:11 AM
Post: #4
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
Very Very Nice.

Wait ... I have one of those somewhere.

But, Really Nice.
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07-16-2013, 12:43 PM
Post: #5
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
So, I couldn't resist the pull of new gear. I ended up doing a mid day shave with the Old Type head on the Sik Bay handle. I decided to do a PIF themed shave and only used gear that had been given to me or that I acquired for free. The Gillette Old Type head (PIFed to me by churchilllafemme), the Sik Bay handle (which was thrown into an order from bestshave.net as a freebie), a Wilkinson-Sword blade (given to me by a member of another forum), The Body Shop Maca Root shaving cream (given to me by my wife) and a Comoy/Vulfix 376S Super Badger brush (PIFed to me by taborcarn).

I did a three pass wtg/atg/xtg shave followed by a cold water rinse, which resulted in a DFS with zero nicks and mild irritation on my neck. It took a little effort to get the angle right and I had to keep reminding myself to use the comb as a lather guide rather than a placement guide, but I eventually got it down. Going against the grain was a little bit difficult because I kept trying to revert back to my usual DE angle, but that adjustment will come with practice.

This razor head has a reputation for aggressive shaves, with that fact plus the added bonus of never having used an open comb razor before I was feeling a little bit intimidated going into this shave, but it turned out well. I do have to say that shaving with this razor feels less like shaving a typical DE razor and more like shaving with a Rolls Razor. The angle and the aggressiveness are both fairly similar even though the blade on a Rolls Razor is a completely different creature. I really enjoy using this razor and even think that the way lather slides between the open teeth is kind of cool. My one complaint is that I had a much harder time judging how aggressive I could be, which resulted in a less than completely smooth neck and one or two patches of minor scruff on my jaw line. I know that with a little practice I will get the ins and outs down. In the mean time I will continue to work with this razor head and finish up by calling this a successful first open comb shave.

Pre: Hot Shower and warm water splash
Razor: Gillette Old Type/Sik Bay frankenrazor
Blade: Wilkinson-Sword
Brush: Comoy/Vulfix 376S Super Badger
Soap: TBS Maca Root shaving cream
Post: Cold water rinse

[Image: wpid-img_20130716_142042.jpg]
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07-16-2013, 01:28 PM
Post: #6
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
Great to hear it! I enjoy reading your reviews and write-ups.
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07-16-2013, 01:40 PM
Post: #7
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
Gillette OT is one of only a couple of razors I use anymore. They were refurbished by BRW with his handles. In my humble opinion, it doesn't get any better. Blade of preference for them is my SI.

RIP Bob.
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07-16-2013, 01:46 PM
Post: #8
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
(07-16-2013 01:40 PM)PanchoVilla Wrote:  Gillette OT is one of only a couple of razors I use anymore. They were refurbished by BRW with his handles. In my humble opinion, it doesn't get any better. Blade of preference for them is my SI.

RIP Bob.

I also have the privilege of owning one of Bob's creations. And I fully agree with you, PanchoVilla.

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07-16-2013, 02:24 PM
Post: #9
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
(07-16-2013 01:46 PM)oversaturn Wrote:  
(07-16-2013 01:40 PM)PanchoVilla Wrote:  Gillette OT is one of only a couple of razors I use anymore. They were refurbished by BRW with his handles. In my humble opinion, it doesn't get any better. Blade of preference for them is my SI.

RIP Bob.

I also have the privilege of owning one of Bob's creations. And I fully agree with you, PanchoVilla.

As do I. Here is an old picture of two of mine. The Improved handle with Old Type was to celebrate a year off cigarettes about 3 years ago. It is by far my favorite razor.

[Image: brwrazors_zps01fe7444.jpg]
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07-20-2013, 11:37 PM
Post: #10
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
It is a fine smooth shaver, I especially like it with Red Israeli Personna blades.

I have 3, two Canadian made and one US made, new old stock that I don't have the heart to use.
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07-21-2013, 12:42 AM
Post: #11
RE: Gillette Old Type Head
I have one Canadian head (here on Durham handle).
Very smooth shaver.
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