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Gem 1912

Item Description

I must admit I was a bit apprehensive regarding the Gem razors. Aggressive appearance, simple blade holder, and that they use the same blades used by my dad building models and preparing artwork for printing did not seem like a good combination for my neck. But when an experienced wet shaver friend loaned one to me with the comments “you need to try this” and “you can handle it” how could I walk away. It being made in my home town and about the same year as my house was built further peaked my interest and felt obligation to give it a shot.

The 1912 was manufactured into the 1940’s. The design is elegantly simple, made from a few pieces of stamped metal riveted together. The blade is held in place by two small nibs on the edge and down pressure from the spring loaded top plate. I was pleasantly surprised how secure the blade is held. The handle is solid and provides a nice balance.

Gem has been producing quality blades for shaving and industrial use for 100 years and they still look the same. These blades have a single cutting edge and are significantly thicker and more rigid than double edge blades. This stiffness behaves more like a straight razor. I found the blade easily got under the tricky hair on my neck and sliced them cleanly in one pass. My double edge required more stretching and multiple passes to get the same result. After a few shaves, the blades are still in great shape for projects around the house.

The razor does have an aggressive design that requires respect and a light touch but the secret is that the razor uses a lower angle than my Superspeed or Slant. That is, you need to hold the flat head of the razor almost flat against your face. The classic sound of a good pass is very clear when you have it right and helps you to find the proper hold.

After a week’s worth of shaves I found only one drawback. The head design and low angle of cutting makes getting close while cutting away from my nose and ears a little more challenging but some more time at the sink will resolve that. The overall close shave and especially the way the blade gets under hairs and does not hop makes this classic a must for the shave den.

Gem 1912’s can be found at yard sales, antique shops, and eBay in great shape for less than $20.00 (often less than $10.00) and Gem blades are available on line at Ted Pella Inc. http://www.tedpella.com/dissect_html/dissect.htm#anchor1606431 and others and at several chain drug stores.

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Tom

Latest reviews

Pros: Close shaves
Cons: Hard to clean the back of the head
The original GEM 1912 SE razor was manufactured between 1912 and about 1929.

The hexagon handle for me is not as comfortable as a round handle. The GEM 1912 shaves similar to the 1912 Ever-Ready and Star models. I believe they all came out of the same factory. It is somewhat aggressive. If one shaves slowly and lightly, the cutting whiskers ability is outstanding. It really mows 'em down!

The only thing I don't like is that it is difficult to clean the back of the razor because of the presence of the "lather catcher" hood.
Grip
4.00 star(s)
Price
5.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
2.00 star(s)
User Friendly
3.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
4.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
4.00 star(s)
Pros: price, quality, availability
Cons: blade choices are limited, but honed/stropped carbon blades work GREAT!
The 1912 is possibly the greatest safety razor design EVER - its 'comb'/guard is damned near perfect - it's both quite 'aggressive' and SAFE. The 1912 is the one razor that I really can cut loose with, with little or no danger or drama, even more so than my flare tip SS. They are also, for me at least, the most fun to drive. Built like tanks, 1912s will be going strong in another 100 years. The throw a blade in and go convenience is exemplary - no guesswork. Excellent audible feedback. Readily available in mint condition. I could go on and on but I really believe that everybody needs to at least try one of these.:001_tt1::001_tt1::001_tt1:
Grip
5.00 star(s)
Price
5.00 star(s)
Balance
5.00 star(s)
Quality
5.00 star(s)
Adjustability
5.00 star(s)
User Friendly
5.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
5.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
5.00 star(s)
The 1912 GEM is about the best razor I've ever used, and shaves as close as a slant. Couple that to the fact that they're cheap as dirt, as are their blades, and you have a winner.

Price: They're practically free, for Pete's sake. $5 including shipping is typical.
Quality: They look a little cheaply made; then again, they're a century old, and they still work perfectly.
User friendly: Spring-loaded door to place and remove the blade; what could be easier? I give it a 9 instead of 10 only because of the danger of cutting yourself with the blade while unwrapping it.
Grip: Just fine. Simple knurled handle. Some are fancier. All are easy to grasp, and are just about the perfect size for normal hands.
Ease of blade replacement: See User Friendly.
Aggressiveness: Perfect. It's aggressive, can go BBS in two or three passes, yet is difficult to cut yourself with (unlike the Micromatic, but that's another review).
Adjustability: there isn't any.
Balance: seems great to me. The handle is heavyish compared to the light head, making it easier to control the head.

If you don't own and use a GEM, it is your loss. At the low price, there is little excuse for not having one.
Grip
4.00 star(s)
Price
5.00 star(s)
Balance
4.00 star(s)
Quality
4.00 star(s)
Adjustability
1.00 star(s)
User Friendly
4.00 star(s)
Aggressiveness
5.00 star(s)
Ease of Blade Replacement
4.00 star(s)

Item information

Added by
eightysixCJ
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Reviews
11
Last update
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0.82 star(s) 11 ratings

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