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AutoStrop/Valet Razors: A Typology in 13 Parts

Mine arrived today it appeaes to be a V3. Then again it ay be NOS, blades all wrapped, strop wrapped, insteuctions still folded, case stiff to open, a slighty film of oil in between the blade head and where the balde sits, and absolutely no marks, scratches scum or rust anywhere. Shaved with it after a clean with a feather blade and while not BBS certainly better than DFS. No irratation, cuts or weepers. A nice clean shave.
 
I haver never seen such detailed history on the Valet razors before. I truly enjoyed reading that and thanks for taking all that time required to do it.
 
Managed four shaves with a feather SS blade. An unusually comfortable shave regardless of how my shave angle changed. Again no variation in shave quality regardless of shave angle. In short a damn fine razor and one thats gone knto my rotation. Only thing was end of the forth shave the blade was fine and yet seems to be too dull when I tried for a fifth. Its no issue just something I noticed.
 
Model VB2 (1927-1937?)

This razor is a real outlier, and it’s both special and interesting. It’s called the “VB2”, because it incorporates the roller guide at the back for the strop (like the VB1 and unlike the VC1). So it’s more like a B than a C, but radically updated and spiffed up. What Valet did here was put all its expensive design elements into a premium razor. Roller bar guide on the back, nicer handles, nicer boxes, nicer kits, nicer finishes. But what really set the VB2 apart was the hinged blade door. Instead of sliding a blade into a friction slot, then activating a catch to hold the blade, the VB2 has a door you opened, put the blade onto the “VALET” pins, close the door, then activate the latch. More complex. And the latch at the back of the VB2 was theoretically adjustable: You could change the blade exposure by moving the latch up or down. But from here on out, we have to deal with those blade pins and the fitment of blades with appropriate cut outs. These VB2’s are the nicest of all North American Valet/AutoStrops by far. The care-free attitude of the 1920’s invented them. The Great Depression killed them.

Notice the special metal work, the silver (not nickel) plating, and the more elaborate handle. This came in a fancy case.

View attachment 800063 View attachment 800064 View attachment 800065 View attachment 800066


[NOTE: In 1930, Gillette was forced by patent and financial problems to merge with AutoStrop, and although AutoStrop became a subsidiary of Gillette, the reality was that Henry Gaisman of AutoStrop took over control of the joint company].
 
Thank you as well Ken for your info.
I believe so Ken .I have just brought another Rhodium VC2 . but l have seen another for sale UK ebay still in all its wrappings from new! But on the box it says 50 . Can you tell me what does that mean . Item 401620470416 Too much money for me but this razor/case (the strop is still in its wrapping ) is like brand new.
 
Paul I can’t see what you are looking at. Please communicate via the Auto Strop Infornation thread and supply a link to the razor in question.
 
Paul I can’t see what you are looking at. Please communicate via the Auto Strop Infornation thread and supply a link to the razor in question.
I will try Ken ,but l am having a problem navigating the site. I didn't put a picture on ,it was just a link to the razor on UK ebay. l will try and get a picture and put it on. An age thing :001_smile sorry.
 
Thanks for info. IS there any differences between handles? I got (I assume) VC3 and it's amazing with FHS-10 blade BUT handle is too short for me. I'd like to have some another razor which use these blades.
 
Model VB2 (1927-1937?)

This razor is a real outlier, and it’s both special and interesting. It’s called the “VB2”, because it incorporates the roller guide at the back for the strop (like the VB1 and unlike the VC1). So it’s more like a B than a C, but radically updated and spiffed up. What Valet did here was put all its expensive design elements into a premium razor. Roller bar guide on the back, nicer handles, nicer boxes, nicer kits, nicer finishes. But what really set the VB2 apart was the hinged blade door. Instead of sliding a blade into a friction slot, then activating a catch to hold the blade, the VB2 has a door you opened, put the blade onto the “VALET” pins, close the door, then activate the latch. More complex. And the latch at the back of the VB2 was theoretically adjustable: You could change the blade exposure by moving the latch up or down. But from here on out, we have to deal with those blade pins and the fitment of blades with appropriate cut outs. These VB2’s are the nicest of all North American Valet/AutoStrops by far. The care-free attitude of the 1920’s invented them. The Great Depression killed them.

Notice the special metal work, the silver (not nickel) plating, and the more elaborate handle. This came in a fancy case.

View attachment 800063 View attachment 800064 View attachment 800065 View attachment 800066


[NOTE: In 1930, Gillette was forced by patent and financial problems to merge with AutoStrop, and although AutoStrop became a subsidiary of Gillette, the reality was that Henry Gaisman of AutoStrop took over control of the joint company].
 
Great info thank you. I now have three of these ,Rhodium plated ,but the first one was imac but l lost one of the screws straight away. I brought a rough earlier model just for the screws. these l found very loose as well ,when replacing the lost one the action was now quite tight. these screws have shoulders on them to prevent this but they have to be a bit loose to have a easy sliding action. may put a tiny bit of Loc tight on them . The last Rhodium came in great condition but the screws were very loose nearly falling out as well. Now to shave with one.
 
Final note about blades: The best modern blades for all these razors are Feather blades, Model FHS-10 (stainless) or FAS-10 (carbon). Vintage Valet blades work great of course, but they seem awfully rough to me. With the older models (VC1 and before), when Valet wasn’t using the proprietary pins/blade cutouts, I’m told you can use a despined Gem blade, but I’ve never tried it. To the best of my knowledge modern Feather FHS-10 or FAS-10 blades will work in any model of AutoStrop or Valet AutoStrop razor.

Hope this has helped a bit.
Thank you ever so much for this information. Not sure how you gathered it all, I was looking for some time and only had one part of what you have.
 
Looks like we have a previously undocumented A model Autostrop. I haven't seen any mentioned of these elsewhere but looks like Autostrop made an ornate handle one piece A model razor in response to the Gillette Pocket edition razors.

Here is a catalog listing from 1910. You can see the set including the razor in the ad listed for the 150 - 152 sets.

catalog1910a.jpg catalog1910b.jpg

If we are to go by order of production this razor technically should now be designated as an A2 and the current razor designated as an A2 as an A3 instead.
 
Looks like I have a VC3 from my Grandfather. It needs some cleaning.

But... what I found that I have never seen is the other part he left me... four boxes of “10 boxes of 10 blades” from Valet. Factory sealed box with 100 blades in them. (So, each box has 10 little 10 blade boxes in it).

Thought that might be of some interest.
 
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