This is a learning information site for collectors of vintage Gillette Safety Razors.
At first I was attracted to the most modern precision razors, brand new and exquisite in their finish. I did not understand all the fuss about Vintage razors. Then while collecting razors there came a time where I looked up the Gillette date-stamp-serial-number for my birth month and year, and decided I would hunt down a razor that has been around for as long as I have ( a so called “Birth Razor”). Admittedly I had it professionally cleaned, serviced and restored, but I was still not expecting the surprise and enjoyment that came from actually finally holding it in my hands. Next I hunted down a “Moon Razor” from 1969 along similar lines. Then my Dad’s “Birth Razor” and then the same for my Grandfather. By then I was hooked. If only the razor could tell the story of where it had been and what it had lived through. There are quite a few reasons these razors are truly special.
Firstly, there is the history that surrounds both the particular model and the specific piece itself. Many of them more than a hundred years old. Have you asked your father or grandfather what he used to shave with, then tracked it down and given it a try?
Secondly, razors in the old days were crafted, not just pressed out of a machine, and the craftsmanship itself is something to behold. It is sadly not something we see much anymore. Lots of time and effort went into these razors and if you have a close look at them it really shows. They were crafted to be works of art, and solid enough to be handed from one generation to the next, not just expendable disposable razors we often see today. Have a close look. They are so well made and durable, that there are literally millions still floating around on the market, making their way from one collection to another. Some have been restored authentically as is appropriate, especially if they are rare, others have been restored with a new metal coating and seen a new lease of life.
Some of the more common models have been restored with a modern twist to the Retro theme, with new coatings of bright and interesting colours. Some are just the way they were, and have been left original, and so it should be.
Then there is also a trend now to remake these “retro classics” with modern materials and synthetic knots, and a whole industry has boomed offering “new” old brushes and razors. PAA offer homages to old classics that are similar but new and improved with modern synthetic knots, while still giving a retro style. HeritageCollectionShaving.com go a step further and offer replicas of Vintage brushes and Razors using modern materials and manufacturing techniques that look identical to brand new old Razors. They are beautiful.
Lastly it is interesting to note that Traditional razors do not seem to decline in value, for all of the reasons above, and mostly due to the eager second hand market. Some are quite the investment.
For those wanting more information, links to books (some downloadable) have been provided. They are fascinating to learn about. Those wanting to acquire a Vintage razor need look no further than the thriving second hand auction websites or search on any of the razor forums or make use of the second hand section on this site. There are some beautiful razor collections to be seen on the “Collection” section of this site. Real Art.
Shaving brushes are much the same, except that in old times Badger, Boar and even horse hair was used, while today synthetic knots (the brush part) are improving at an astounding pace and long since provided either the same experience as a natural knot, or even a superior one. For this reason many Vintage brushes suffering from worn out natural knots, have had new synthetic knots fitted and seen a new lease of life. The latest synthetic fibers are impossible to tell apart from Badger visually, and also perform better in every way. Previous issues such as heat retention, water retention, and splayability, have all been solved and continue to improve monthly. Folk who don’t believe this owe it to themselves to try out a brand new generation G5D or similar.