Oldest Single Ring known

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by shekoujay, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. OK, here's another entry on this controversial subject. I picked up this single ring in a Times Square box for a steal, hoping that it would turn out to be an early 1906 4xx,xxx serial number.


    It arrived this week, and of course my first action was to pull out the shaft and check the serial number. Much to my astonishment, it appears to read 280,226 . Got out the magnifying glass and could not detect even a hint of a letter before the number. The blade plate has no markings, and the tube has the 1904 pat. stamping.


    After perusing quite a few threads on the subject, i could only find mention of one other single ring with a 2xx,xxx number (288,248), which was mentioned here: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/157667-early-Single-Ring-from-1905?highlight=lowest+number+single+ring
    Of course, the single and double ring shafts are identical, so there is no way to really tell if one was switched at some point in the past 105 years.

    I'm still happy to have a great old case and razor for $20, but disappointed that I may never know for sure if it is a prototype, test market razor, or just a mis-matched set.
  2. The wear seems to be consistent across the knob and barrel. I think I'd be calling it as fair dinkum!

    Congrats on a great score!
  3. Very cool!
  4. ah - I was wondering what happened to that razor - I was watching it but as I have 2 single rings already, didn't think I needed a third one. Congrats and enjoy the shave!
  5. BigFoot

    BigFoot Moderator Contributor

    The wear does look uniform and identical. Mmmmmmmmm
  6. Since the single ring was introduced in 1905 and that's a 1905 serial number, I'm not really sure why you were expecting a 4xx,xxx number. And also being that they were introduced in 1905, that rules out prototype/test. I also don't see any reason to believe the razor and case are mis-matched as it's very plausible that they'd use the same cases in the very first year of a switch-over from the double ring to the single ring.

    Here's a 1905 single ring in the same case:
  7. mr-razor

    mr-razor Contributor

    very nice find! That´s the earliest Single Ring that I´ve ever seen. Congratulations!
  8. TCP


    I have a single ring coming in the mail that is in that exact same 1905 box. Have no idea what year the razor might be, but am mighty curious, should find out soon.

    How many years did they use that particular case with the slide clasp?
  9. TCP


    The single ring came today and the serial number is 359651. So my question is, "Can it be a 1905 Single Ring"?
  10. TCP


    Here are pics of my new arrival. Best I could do with my phone

    Attached Files:

  11. mr-razor

    mr-razor Contributor

  12. Very nice. That case looks to be in great shape. Don't see them in great shape like that often, not at 106 years old.
  13. Thanks guys. I thought there might be a little more doubt, as Krumholz wrote that the single ring came out in mid-1906. But the evidence is mounting that he could have been wrong:

    As for the earliest single ring serial number reported, I found this thread from 2008 which notes a single ring serialed 278,278 (prophetic_joe), it also mentions a single ring 324,834 (GB5) : http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/47884-Gillette-Razor-made-in-1903!!!?highlight=T+Rick+single+ring

    Here is another thread reporting a single ring with serial #299,385 (GoTeeGuy): http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/5909-Single-Ring-Gillette?highlight=T+Rick+single+ring

    This is the original thread with photos of serial # 288,248 (T Rick), which also mentions another single ring with serial 320,776 (BroJohn) : http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthread.php/113708-Early-Single-Ring-Mixed-Parts-What-have-I-got-here?highlight=T+Rick+single+ring

    The thread I referenced in the first post noted # 337,905 (Achim) and # 337,100 (staxchipswell). And TCP has just shown us his newly acquired serial # 359,651. That's now at least nine single rings reported on this forum with 1905 date codes. It seems now there is a greater likelihood that single rings were launched in the 2nd half of 1905. Of course, that's all assuming Krumholz was correct about serial # 370,424 being the ending of 1905.
  14. Hello?
  15. Just curious what your comment is based on. Until recently, it was generally believed that the single ring was introduced in 1906, as noted in Krumholz guide (see below) as well as the dating chart that started on Geocities. In several previous threads on this site, it was called an anomaly when a single ring showed up with a 1905 date code, and speculated that tubes may have been switched. I appreciate your reference to Achim's Mr-Razor website, and that is certainly one of the bibles of what has been found. I'm not sure it has been generally agreed that history has been re-written about the launch of the single ring, though. But if you have some research to offer, I'd love to hear about it.

  16. Krumholz's book is known to contain quite a few errors. Aside from Achim's 1905 example, I also base it off of the original dating guide that was originally hosted on safetyrazors.net but is now found at http://renaldo.us/grbd.html since safetyrazors.net is dead. That dating guide states 1905 as well. Of course I can't say definitively as I wasn't around in 1905 but I would think it's fair to say since we've live examples and other references, it's very plausible.
  17. mmbcastle

    mmbcastle Vendor

    First, I'm going to say it looks very likely that single ring razors were produced before serial number 370425, which Mr Krumholz attributes to the beginning of 1906. However, it is possible these were factory or individual repairs.

    Secondly, Mr Krumholz indicates Gillette did not start keeping records of serial numbers until 1909, and the chart is an estimate for razors produced before that year based on production figures.

    Third, safetyrazors.net is not an independant source. It referenced the Krumholz book as the source of its data. That's how I first heard of his book.
  18. We need to keep in mind that Gillette was not keeping records for us in the 21st century but to simply account for product made in the early 20th century to produce sales nothing more. We should use the reference materials as a guide, but realize that there will be some "holes" in the accounts.

    If you think that this is problematical, review ancient histories of civilizations and you will realize this discrepancy in records retention is mere child's play.

    Enjoy you shaves and more importantly, enjoy those razors. They are now truly rare survivors indeed.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  19. If that's the case, why doesn't the safetyrazors.net dating guide put single rings at 1906 like Krumholz does? If they are using his book as their source, wouldn't their info be the same?
  20. mmbcastle

    mmbcastle Vendor

    I haven't compared them that closely before, but look at the bottom of the page (on the SRN and renaldo sites). They're the ones giving him the credit. I do see that renaldo has moved the single rings to 1905, but SRN had them in 1906 (I have a PDF of the old site).

    On a side note, I wonder if renaldo had permission to copy the SRN pages? It's just a direct lift, with a few minor edits as noted.

    On the more pertinent point, Krumholz doesn't mention where he gets the information as to the introduction date of the single ring. He could be looking at advertising and packaging art dates, and we're dealing with a mistake in the mapping of serial numbers to production numbers, since they weren't actually tracked at this point. There are exactly 400,000 serial numbers listed in 1906. Sounds like an estimate (of the sales figures) to me.

Share This Page