Vintage Safety Razors

Vintage Safety Razors
Vintage Gillette safety razor re-stored and re-plated with dark ruthenium
Vintage Safety Razors
Before: 1940’s vintage safety razor.

A shaving revolution

Before the introduction of safety razors, shaving required the use of a straight razor and bandages. To use one required a steady hand, equally steady concentration and a good mirror. Straight razors also required frequent honing and stropping to keep the edge of the blade sharp. During the turn of the nineteenth century, safety razors were introduced to make shaving faster, safer and easier. However, they were not immediately accepted by the public. That all changed in 1904, when King C. Gillette patented the first disposable safety razor. Unlike previous safety razors of that era, Gillette’s design featured thin, double sided razors that could be discarded after several shaves. The blades were inexpensive to buy, provided that you purchased the handle. Nowadays vintage safety razors from the early to mid twentieth century are highly collectible and still used by shaving aficionados.

Not your Grandpa’s safety razor

Vintage Safey Razors
After: Vintage safety razor restored and re-plated with dark ruthenium

This razor is a Gillette 1940’s fat handle 3 piece safety razor. It is a very sturdy design, made with nickel plated brass. The razor was in decent condition but the nickel plated suffered corrosion from many years of soaps and shaving cream. The worst corrosion was at the base of the cutting head where the razor touches the face. You could literally smell 70 years of Barbasol coming out of the razor as it was being cleaned by our team.

For a “man’s man” who prefers shaving the old fashioned way, many of these razors are being restored by their new owners. In keeping with the times, alternative finishes such as rhodium, gold, and platinum are being requested to update the old classic safety razor. In this project the customer was looking for something exotic in appearance, yet durable for everyday use. After some discussions the dark metallic look of dark ruthenium was determined to be the right finish. It has a visual appearance similar to hematite stone. If your not familiar with Ruthenium, it is very durable, harder than chrome and highly resistant to corrosion and wear. These characteristics make it a suitable choice for razors used on a daily basis. In this example, we had to remove the old layer of plated nickel and gently re-polish all three pieces. After a pre-plate to seal the base metal and brighten the surface, a layer of ruthenium plating was applied. As you can see the “stealth gray” appearance of ruthenium provides a great visual update to this classic safety razor. So send your vintage safety razors to us and lets see if we can cut a deal.


Metal Arts Specialties

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