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1947 - a year of 3 strange and magnificent rhodium Gillettes

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(More pics below)

The immediate post-WW2 years were marked by transition, on the one hand by industrial production getting back on its feet while adjusting to continued raw material shortages, and on the other hand by a new positive and innovative outlook towards a peaceful future.

These trends could each explain why the year 1947 saw the emergence of 3 very different Gillette razors which all somehow were oddities and all were marked by very short life spans. And about which we today know next to nothing factually about why they came to be.

The Hybrid Tech
The Hybrid Tech is a strange hybrid between a pedestrian fat handle Tech and a high-end rhodium luxury good. The only thing we factually know about it is that it was on the market in 1947 at least in Australia. But it seems that it was only marketed for a few years given the relative scarcity of specimens found today.

There is no explanation why British Gillette would market this model, but maybe they weren’t ready with the Aristocrat 2nd generation model and needed a transitional high-end solid bar offering and then used what they had at hand from before the war? - Or maybe they needed to keep their post-war production setup simple and thus only make standard Tech fat handles and then use some of those for the Hybrid Tech, only needing to add a high-end rhodium plating to make it “up-market”?

The “Anglo-American” Aristocrat
These hypotheses could well explain this even stranger razor oddity, the one which we for lack of a better term today call the “Anglo-American” Aristocrat. This mythic razor thus came designed with a pre-war British Aristocrat 1st generation open comb head mounted on an 1946-47 US Aristocrat handle and cradled in a standard prewar British Aristocrat nickel plated case. Literally nothing is known about this model either, but blades in surviving sets marked S2 have dated the model to 1947.

Again, why British Gillette would market such a hybrid model is not known, but the above explanations could well be realistic including that British Gillette had to make do with prewar parts and found it easier - or necessary - to get US handles over to fit their high-end offering? …No matter the background, it was evidently a very shortlived venture as literally only 6 Anglo-Americans have surfaced the last 10 years and are publicly accounted for today.

This particular specimen is my newest arrival and was a tough catch on the bay. Seller is a very nice elderly lady who told her husbond off for buying this razor cheap at a local thrift shop. He bought it simply because the case was so nice and shiny. They did not know what they had, but the razor community did. So they were both astounded and very happy for the auction result. It is in magnificent condition all over and a worthy unicorn match to the third razor presented here:

Techmatic DE Injector prototype
Because meanwhile, over there in the US in 1947, the innovative spirit at Gillette was undeterred. The Techmatic was a fascinating injector DE prototype which (again) we today know absolutely nothing about, but which we again can date at around 1946-1947 given the date codes of the Gillette Blue Blades found in the bespoke injectors (S3 on blades in mine). Clearly intended as a high-end rhodium plated luxury good, extremely well made (I honestly never saw anything like it) and preceeding the mass-market Gillette adjustables by a decade. However the razor model and injector system may have been too advanced and/or probably way too expensive to produce, because the model never made it to market and literally only a handful exist today.

I am blown away by the highly unexpected chance to be able to share with you these enigmatic 1947 unicorns side by side. Hope you like them :001_tt1:

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(More pics below)

The immediate post-WW2 years were marked by transition, on the one hand by industrial production getting back on its feet while adjusting to continued raw material shortages, and on the other hand by a new positive and innovative outlook towards a peaceful future.

These trends could each explain why the year 1947 saw the emergence of 3 very different Gillette razors which all somehow were oddities and all were marked by very short life spans. And about which we today know next to nothing factually about why they came to be.

The Hybrid Tech
The Hybrid Tech is a strange hybrid between a pedestrian fat handle Tech and a high-end rhodium luxury good. The only thing we factually know about it is that it was on the market in 1947 at least in Australia. But it seems that it was only marketed for a few years given the relative scarcity of specimens found today.

There is no explanation why British Gillette would market this model, but maybe they weren’t ready with the Aristocrat 2nd generation model and needed a transitional high-end solid bar offering and then used what they had at hand from before the war? - Or maybe they needed to keep their post-war production setup simple and thus only make standard Tech fat handles and then use some of those for the Hybrid Tech, only needing to add a high-end rhodium plating to make it “up-market”?

The “Anglo-American” Aristocrat
These hypotheses could well explain this even stranger razor oddity, the one which we for lack of a better term today call the “Anglo-American” Aristocrat. This mythic razor thus came designed with a pre-war British Aristocrat 1st generation open comb head mounted on an 1946-47 US Aristocrat handle and cradled in a standard prewar British Aristocrat nickel plated case. Literally nothing is known about this model either, but blades in surviving sets marked S2 have dated the model to 1947.

Again, why British Gillette would market such a hybrid model is not known, but the above explanations could well be realistic including that British Gillette had to make do with prewar parts and found it easier - or necessary - to get US handles over to fit their high-end offering? …No matter the background, it was evidently a very shortlived venture as literally only 6 Anglo-Americans have surfaced the last 10 years and are publicly accounted for today.

This particular specimen is my newest arrival and was a tough catch on the bay. Seller is a very nice elderly lady who told her husbond off for buying this razor cheap at a local thrift shop. He bought it simply because the case was so nice and shiny. They did not know what they had, but the razor community did. So they were both astounded and very happy for the auction result. It is in magnificent condition all over and a worthy unicorn match to the third razor presented here:

Techmatic DE Injector prototype
Because meanwhile, over there in the US in 1947, the innovative spirit at Gillette was undeterred. The Techmatic was a fascinating injector DE prototype which (again) we today know absolutely nothing about, but which we again can date at around 1946-1947 given the date codes of the Gillette Blue Blades found in the bespoke injectors (S3 on blades in mine). Clearly intended as a high-end rhodium plated luxury good, extremely well made (I honestly never saw anything like it) and preceeding the mass-market Gillette adjustables by a decade. However the razor model and injector system may have been too advanced and/or probably way too expensive to produce, because the model never made it to market and literally only a handful exist today.

I am blown away by the highly unexpected chance to be able to share with you these enigmatic 1947 unicorns side by side. Hope you like them :001_tt1:

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Great history! And FABULOUS RAZORS!!
 
Northstonehill,

Thank you for the detailed history and the fantastic photos of some beautiful razors! I love seeing these vintage tools still in circulation.

Thanks for sharing!

Curly
 
I am not a vintage razor connoisseur, as such, I really know nothing about them. All I know is, men had less options available to them back then, then we have today. For example, it was common for men back in the day to use body soap for shave soap, there was no dedicated shave soap back then. And it would be a long time before Barbassol became a thing! Nice pictures, loved the post.
 
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