Gillette Old Type

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by demaro, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. I just ordered a Gillette Old Type off ebay for just under $10 shipped. It appears to be in pretty good shape. After I ordered it , I started looking at reviews for it. Some are saying today's de blades to not fit properly in them, while others say they fit fine and they give a wonderful shave. Will the modern blades fit in the old type and provide a great shave like I have read ? Thank you.
  2. You can definitely use contemporary blades in it. Just be sure they "seat" properly before shaving. Sometimes they can line up a bit askew, which you don't want. The "Old Type" is one of my favorite DE razors, and will likely give as good of shave as you can get from a DE razor. I use Astra SP blade but any will work fine.

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  3. Ive got a couple of old style gillettes. I use modern blades in them with no troubles other than the fact that they are quite aggressive and I need to use a light touch.

    I would not describe them as "forgiving".

    Ive had some great shaves from them, but also one of the most painful when I got a little carried away and took it a bit cheap.

    Tread carefully and use a light touch is my advice.
  4. I don't know what you mean by "old type", but I have a (I believe) late 40's Gillette (looks like a New, but so many Gillette razors were made that all I can say for sure that it is a Gillette gold plated razor from pre-date codes) and the blades fit well. It even has guides on the cap to make sure it seats properly. As long as you watch your technique, that era razor should work fine. Now pre-1929 razors used a much thicker blade with two holes in it instead of the common slot with two larger holes in it, if you are talking about that old of a razor you may have some problems according to others on here.
  5. The Old Type head (introduced in 1903) predated both the New head (introduced in 1930) and the older New Improved head (introduced in 1921) and was designed for the original thicker DE blades, but as long as you make sure you line the blade up properly and don't get in too much of a hurry with it you can use modern DE blades and get a fantastic shave out of it.
  6. I personally find the old types to be overly aggressive with modern blades. Not as in they give a very close shave, but that the cutting angle isn't proper to give a good shave. For comparison purposes, my go to shave is a red tip with a feather, and I get excellent results every time with a rare nick when I'm not paying much attention. With the old type I have to use the mildest blade to get even a SAO, anything sharper and its a disaster. I know this is contradictory to many other posts here, but it isn't as simple as dropping in the blade and aligning it. A shim may help, but I haven't tried it. I started with an old type, but I've moved on and haven't even bother trying to get a decent shave with them. If you are new, this may "wet your feet" as it did for me, but my personal opinion is that they arent practical or really usable with todays blade offerings
  7. I find the old type to be a smooooooth and easy shaver and less aggressive than the New.

    Shave away and don't worry about it!

    As with any razor you will need to find a blade that matches well with it.
  8. +1
  9. I have a no date code old type. You need to check the blade exposure is even before you take the final 1/2 turn on it. It's not a big difference.

  10. Works like a charm with regular new blades. Great shaver!!
  11. They are just fine with modern blades; like with every razor one might like it or not but there is nothing to be worried about.
  12. I've had some similar experiences with the Old. If I am on, my prep is perfect and the stars align, I can get a good shave out of it. Otherwise, they're average shaves at best.

    I can get a good shave with everything else. The 1912 is a solid shaver, I can use a Slim at 9 if I want, but the Old just doesn't seem to have the right angle.
  13. Just some personal observations and experience only; as always you may get quite different mileage for very justifiable reasons. Please forgive any perceived tone issues - only trying to be helpful!

    I've seen comments hereabouts indicating the "old type" Gillettes are very aggressive, very mild, or just fine. Also that they only work with modern blades if shimmed (to give more blade gap), or they work just fine regardless.

    (1) From my experience and analysis of razor geometry, I don't think blade thickness matters one whit. Per my measurements, the old three-hole Gillette blades were about 0.0075 inch thick. Modern blades are 0.0040 inch. The impact on "blade gap" is one-half the difference, or 0.0018 inch (0.045 mm). If you compare that with the posted range of blade exposures, from 0.15 mm for the Old Type to 1.14 for a Gillette adjustable at "9", it's evident that this is just not a real factor. Too small to register.

    (2) I do believe the most significant factors are blade exposure (how far the edge sticks out beyond the line between the head and guard or comb), followed by blade angle (lower in the "old type", seemingly constant thereafter), and with blade gap a very distant third - and only because of skin elasticity. If you assessed the old type by blade gap alone, it would be hands down the mildest of the lot. Contrary to the experience of many, including me.

    (3) Gillette marketed their original design to those who grew up accustomed to straight razor shaving; hence the "no stropping, no honing" imprimatur. So they expected the average buyer to possess a certain skill set. Typical customers would have been used to getting a precise angle for the blade, and being very careful about pressure, and not being over hasty. I suspect later designs were impelled by a newer generation that grew up using safety razors, with different (or inferior) skills.

    (4) Recently, when I've gotten the last good shave from a given blade, I've found I can set it into one of my "old type" razors and get one or two more perfectly good shaves. But with more attention and technique required! James1971 is dead on target...the operative word isn't "aggressive" but rather "forgiving". If you use it at a paint scraper angle it's totally ineffective, if you have a good angle but too much pressure it'll eat your face. If inconsistent, it'll be a mess. If you really understand it, you can get as good or better results with modern blades in a 100+ year old design as with anything else out there.

    My two bits.

    - Bill
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  14. I think so too, the stiffness of the thicker blade might be a bigger factor than the actual size.

    I love post were the calipers are used btw!! :thumbup1:
  15. Thanks, Bill. That might explain why I like the NEW better :laugh:
  16. At this point, I shave only the old types. I toughened my face on a tech, advanced with a slim adjustable.
    My fave right now is an early "06" single ring.
    I still get a kick out of the perfect simplicity of old types, He-they got it right the first time.:thumbup1:
  17. +1 Nicely Said Bill :thumbup1:
  18. Thank you everyone for the great advice . I will be giving it a go tomorrow morning !!:thumbup:

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