Gillette Super Adjustable Black Short Handle vs Long Handle?

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by ElliotR, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. I am a newbie with a couple of cheap but effective DE's I got from AMAZON in June. They both work very well for me. But, in a fit of what I think you guys call "RAD"....I bought a birth year '69 Gillette Adjustable Black Handle TTO razor from Ebay (Date code 0-4). I paid $29 for it plus shipping. To say this razor is a beauty is an understatement. It feels and looks brand new. It also feels great in my hand.

    What I did not realize was that it was a short-handle razor...I guess there is long handle version out there also. My question is this: Is there a short handle and long handle for each year?
    Or did they not start making long handled versions of this until a certain year?
    (and where can i pick up a long handle version of this black beauty?)
    (also - how do I deal with my RAD?!?!?)
  2. I bought a standard length Super Adjustable, new, in 1969 or 1970, when they first were offered, and mine still looks and works as good as when brand new. The longer handled one did not exist at first, that much I am dead certain of. I have one now, but it is cheap looking, with a black plastic base plate, instead of nickel plated brass. I have seen the long one with brass base plates; I just wasn't pay9ing enough attention when I looked this one over.

    I started with five of my own Gillette DE razors, the newest of which was the Black Beauty. I have about a dozen now, but there are about three Techs I never use, which were added to shave mugs with worn out shave brushes to make up a "kit" or "set". One out of the old brushes was good . .

    Any acquisition need has to run its course; it isn't always a wallet-buster, because most of our goodies are so reasonably priced, still.
  3. Thanks for the info!
    and....I will just let my RAD run its natural course!
  4. I have a 1970 long and short handle super adjustable. I don't know when the plastic base plates came in, but both of my have plated brass heads.
  5. Here is a little info I found here on B&B shave wiki It doesn't state when the plastic base plates began but does say that in 1982 they changed to diamond pattern knurling on the handle, maybe this is when the plastic crept in.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2012
  6. I have a long handle SA, sent it to a friend to try so I can't double check anything right now. It has the metal base plate. I don't remember the date code, but it is older than 1976 (I was fishing for a birth year, 4th quarter 1976)

    It shaves almost identical to my Slim, (Wonderfully!) so I almost have no desire to continue searching for a birth year. If I didn't like the looks of the Slim better I might think otherwise...

  7. There is another recent thread talking about the lack of love for the "Black Beauty". Hard to understand given that it is for all intents and purposes a Slim. I've read posts from people who have both that think the SA is better (Not sure why). I generally prefer a long-handled razor although I think I'm changing my mind about that lately. So my long-handled Black Beauty feels great to me. Got it late last year and then received a Futur for Christmas. So it has been sitting sadly unused in my drawer. My Futur is gold-toned and I love the look of it. So I've been sticking to it for the last 6 months or so. Maybe this will encourage me to dig out my Black Beauty and remind myself what it feels like ... or maybe sent it to BST.
  8. Are the plastic base SAs considered to be far less desirable? Does the plastic base hurt the razor's longevity or performance?
  9. I started DE shaving in the mid-1960's, with a Slim and have since also owned and used the Fatboy and both the long and short handled SAs. I prefer the SA to both the Fatboy and Slim and the long handle SA over the short, though it is entirely a personal preference. The SA polymer bottom head plate was introduced in 1977.
  10. I started with the Black Beauty 40 years ago and still use one today. My dad used one too (I think he used a slim before the SA came out)
  11. I don't think there is anything wrong at all with the plastic bases. The SA in all of it's forms is a superior shaver.

    BTW, they also changed the black handled SS to the diamond knurling during this time period.
  12. I have tried all of the adjustables. For some reason, my long handled, gold-plated black SA is my preferred daily razor. Something about the contrast of the black and gold. And honestly, I like the balance of it better than a slim. It feels more suited to my hand. Anyway, that's my two cents worth.
  13. One of the popular misconceptions about the Super Adjustable is the plastic part used in the later years of the razor's production run. It is not the baseplate, but rather the adjuster tang that was made of "synthetic" material. The razor's actual baseplate is brass in all versions. When they switched to the plastic tang, the date code (which used to be on the bottom of the metal tang) was moved inside the razor to the top side of the baseplate.

    Another mistaken belief is that it is "just a Slim" . . . nothing is farther from the truth! While similar in form and function, there are no parts interchangable with either the Slim or the Fat Boy. As Todd points out above, the balance is different than on a Slim, and he is not alone in liking it more than its predecessors.
  14. I just saw a SA C-3 1982 with the black tang, on the bay.
  15. They do show up pretty often.
  16. I believe that's the one I snagged a couple of mornings ago - it was a C2 though.
  17. Highspeedlane

    Highspeedlane Contributor

    Found this (blast from the past) thread while doing some online research on the SA, which has evolved into my go-to, daily shaver. Thanks very much for all the leg work and research you guys have done to preserve the history of these great shaving implements.
  18. I own both a short and a long Black Beauty. I originally got into them because I wanted a long-handle razor to give me the feel I was used to with my Mach3. That was really not smart because the grip is totally different, but I still love them both. I've actually learned to like the short-handled one a touch more over time.

    Enjoy it. It's only a matter of time before you have more of them. :)
  19. These are still on my "Must have" list of vintage Gillettes. I want a long handle.
  20. Read the first line.
    It's the only way.

    Now, something I take issue with (not you specifically, of course) is the common use of the abbreviation "RAD", where "D" stands for "Disorder".
    Guitar people have got it right, with "GAS", or "Guitar Acquisition Syndrome".
    "Disorder" makes it sound like a problem to be cured, but "syndrome" just describes a collection of ... behaviours. Yeah, that's it.

    We should be calling it "RAS".

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