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1928 Gillette New Improved de luxe model (“Hermann Köhl” engraved type)

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In April of 1928 German airplane pilot Hermann Köhl became the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean from east to west, i.e. from Europe to the US. This remarkable feat was achieved less than a year after Charles Lindbergh had done the same journey but in the opposite direction west to east.

As part of his welcoming in the US Hermann Köhl was given a welcoming parade and at the same time presented with a beautiful richly engraved Gillette razor set with his monogram. This gorgeous full set, based on the Gillette New Improved razor model, is pictured in the mr-razor Gillette encyclopedia and it is pictured below.

Now, after almost 100 years, at long last a similar razor has surfaced - an identical(?) golden hued Gillette New Improved de luxe model with intricate engravings. Along with it came a matching engraved bladebank, and even with the case and other paraphernalia missing it is still a remarkable piece.

Both razor and bladebank is engraved “B.M.”, and initially judging from the seller pics the rich engravings appear to be very like (or identical to) the Hermann Köhl set engravings. And the full appearance is remarkably akin to the engraved New President offered 2 years later by Gillette in gold and silver versions.

Even the internet has no further info on this model, and I have never seen one before. But hopefully some others here can shed more light on this fascinating model?

Currently inbound, so only seller pics are available and shown here. But when received I will post better pictures.

Enjoy!

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The 1930 New President
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Messygoon

Abandoned By Gypsies.
Just changed my name to Bartholomew Mondragon so I can lay claim to your new find! In all seriousness, thanks for sharing. It's a beautifully artistic expression of our hobby, and a great story. Wouldn't you just love to know more about its original owner?
 
Thanks so much friends for your kind words, warmly appreciated :thumbup1:

Beautiful. I expect it was harder to fly from east to west, requiring more fuel.

Yes, indeed. Seems from Wikipedia that he flew a bigger plane too.

Just changed my name to Bartholomew Mondragon so I can lay claim to your new find! In all seriousness, thanks for sharing. It's a beautifully artistic expression of our hobby, and a great story. Wouldn't you just love to know more about its original owner?

Haha, thanks “Bartholomew”!

Yes, I would definitely be intrigued to know more of the first owner. That is one of the key things that fascinate me around vintage razors. I love to think about the life that they have seen and the stories they could tell. In my inventory I keep careful note of which locations my razors have come to me from. My razors have spent their past lives in all places across the US, in Europe, even in Asia and Australia. And in all kinds of environments from small fishing villages in the west to big cities in the East... Each of them have seen the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of real life.
 
B.M. is not listed on Blanks rubbings, so I have to guess that the owner was not "famous", but rich enough to spend 75 USD on a De Luxe set.
The NI De Luxe was the ancestor of the New De Luxe Aristorcrat and the successor of the De Luxe combination set (Old type). These were the most expensive sets produced by Gillette and hand engraved by Frederick Charles Blank. This pattern was the standard one on all New improved De Luxe sets.
As these were extremely expensive, don't think too many were sold (and not to Joe average) so I think the majority of them will not easily surface.

Congrats!
 
View attachment 1306866

In April of 1928 German airplane pilot Hermann Köhl became the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean from east to west, i.e. from Europe to the US. This remarkable feat was achieved less than a year after Charles Lindbergh had done the same journey but in the opposite direction west to east.

As part of his welcoming in the US Hermann Köhl was given a welcoming parade and at the same time presented with a beautiful richly engraved Gillette razor set with his monogram. This gorgeous full set, based on the Gillette New Improved razor model, is pictured in the mr-razor Gillette encyclopedia and it is pictured below.

Now, after almost 100 years, at long last a similar razor has surfaced - an identical(?) golden hued Gillette New Improved de luxe model with intricate engravings. Along with it came a matching engraved bladebank, and even with the case and other paraphernalia missing it is still a remarkable piece.

Both razor and bladebank is engraved “B.M.”, and initially judging from the seller pics the rich engravings appear to be very like (or identical to) the Hermann Köhl set engravings. And the full appearance is remarkably akin to the engraved New President offered 2 years later by Gillette in gold and silver versions.

Even the internet has no further info on this model, and I have never seen one before. But hopefully some others here can shed more light on this fascinating model?

Currently inbound, so only seller pics are available and shown here. But when received I will post better pictures.

Enjoy!

View attachment 1306867View attachment 1306868View attachment 1306869View attachment 1306871View attachment 1306870

View attachment 1306872

The 1930 New President
View attachment 1306873
Thanks for sharing the photos of this beautiful historic razor. I just did some online research on Hermann Kohl. He lost his job with a German airline in 1935 because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. He then retired and died at age 50 in 1938 due to kidney disease. Besides being a pioneering pilot, he was a man of faith and principle.
 
B.M. is not listed on Blanks rubbings, so I have to guess that the owner was not "famous", but rich enough to spend 75 USD on a De Luxe set.
The NI De Luxe was the ancestor of the New De Luxe Aristorcrat and the successor of the De Luxe combination set (Old type). These were the most expensive sets produced by Gillette and hand engraved by Frederick Charles Blank. This pattern was the standard one on all New improved De Luxe sets.
As these were extremely expensive, don't think too many were sold (and not to Joe average) so I think the majority of them will not easily surface.

Congrats!

That is amazing background information, Adam - thanks so very much!!!

I googled and found this further info on Frederick Charles Blank (did not know of him):

FCB was a general engraver and designer of the early 1900s, who lived and worked in Massachusetts, Connecticut. He designed and engraved many Ex-Libris bookplates of the period as well as gold presentation razors for King Gillette of the Gillette Razor Company.
 
Thanks for sharing the photos of this beautiful historic razor. I just did some online research on Hermann Kohl. He lost his job with a German airline in 1935 because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. He then retired and died at age 50 in 1938 due to kidney disease. Besides being a pioneering pilot, he was a man of faith and principle.

Thanks a lot for sharing Jimmy - great additional info!
 

Messygoon

Abandoned By Gypsies.
Thanks so much friends for your kind words, warmly appreciated :thumbup1:



Yes, indeed. Seems from Wikipedia that he flew a bigger plane too.



Haha, thanks “Bartholomew”!

Yes, I would definitely be intrigued to know more of the first owner. That is one of the key things that fascinate me around vintage razors. I love to think about the life that they have seen and the stories they could tell. In my inventory I keep careful note of which locations my razors have come to me from. My razors have spent their past lives in all places across the US, in Europe, even in Asia and Australia. And in all kinds of environments from small fishing villages in the west to big cities in the East... Each of them have seen the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of real life.
Couldn’t agree more. We own a 1952 Ford F3 pickup truck. I often imagine the men who turned the bolts in its assembly. The farmers who drove it to town. Oh the stories these old razors and cars could tell.
 
One USD would be almost $16 today adjusting for inflation so that razor would have cost around $1200 today.

Considering this, BM should be somewhat known, at least at the time.

I have a theory, geographically where you bought the razor could be important for more info.
 
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