Gillette Nickel Adjuster 1-5 Position Bottom Dial Razor

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by GlennConti, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. GlennConti

    GlennConti Contributor

    So, I just took some pictures I thought I would share with you guys. This is a matte finish Nickel Adjuster 1-5 Position Bottom Dial which was the true prototype for the regular 1-9 Bottom Dial. This prototype has an aluminum handle and aluminum TTO knob. The dial is nickel plated brass as are the working components like the silo doors and base plate. There is no date code but this was probably made in 1956 or 1957 (but I'm just guessing based on the patent filed for date.) This razor weighs 72 grams. The deal is this; a small number of these were made to test out how well this type of razor performed as part of the Gillette Research and Development test lab. I hear from another owner, who has been to the Procter & Gamble's Gillette Archives that, different prototypes of this razor had different weights so that the feel in a user's hands could also be gauged. This razor was never released for sale so there is no case, instructions, warranty card, blade pack, price tag or whatever. What you see is what you get: a razor only. This distinguishes this razor and it's cousin the Black Adjuster 1-5 Position Bottom Dial from all other Gillette Adjustable razors. That is, these are the only things that can truly be called prototypes. Not Red Dot Fatboys or 1-5 Position Serial Toggles.

    BD-1.jpg BD-2.jpg BD-3.jpg BD-4.jpg BD-5.jpg BD-6.jpg
  2. Highspeedlane

    Highspeedlane Contributor Contributor

    Amazing and great razor post Glenn!

    The P&G Gillette Archive is something I've never heard of but sounds like a place I need to visit :)
  3. ackvil

    ackvil Moderator Contributor

    Very nice.
  4. WOW! Lovely!
  5. matwho

    matwho Contributor

    Thank you for the education. As always very informative.
  6. GlennConti

    GlennConti Contributor

    Thanks guys! Here is a picture of the two cousins. They look pretty much the same except the one on the left has the matte finish nickel plated adjusting dial with black paint for the numbers and the one on the right has the black painted adjusting dial with white paint for the numbers. The nickel dial one is 72 grams and the black dial one is 67 grams; like I said the weights were purposefully made different. How they put the different individual razors or sets of razors on a "diet", I don't know.

  7. Wow. Nice razors, and an interesting history lesson, too. Thank you for sharing these with us.
  8. KQY61

    KQY61 Contributor


    Oh, my. A total mash-up of a unit. Prototype Troubles. As a long-time suffering user of Prototype and Skunk Works things, you might as well send it to me.....


  9. Highly interesting, and thanx for sharing.

    So did Gillette make the right decision on their selection of the final production model of the Fat Boy?

    I would say yes. I also prefer the 1 to 9 adjuster.
  10. Thanks for sharing!
    Too often the word prototype is used to describe limited production runs in all sorts of stuff. I had a girlfriend who's mother described her 1986 Buick T-type as a prototype for years. Made me wary of the word.
  11. GlennConti

    GlennConti Contributor

    For 33 years, the reign of the adjustable razor at Gillette, this type of razor was their top dog flagship product. It had to have been a decent design. The "Black Beauty" incarnation was the most successful time wise - 20 years. The Fatboy was only around for 3 years. Better, cheaper, whatever they kept refining the product.

    As far as 1-5 or 1-9 adjusters, that is a little trick on people. For both types there are 9 different gap settings. The micrometer numbers on the 1-9 go 1,3,5,7,9 with 4 half steps for 9 gaps. On the 1-5 they go 1,2,3,4,5 with 4 half steps for 9 gaps too. So really it is the same thing. I once considered calling the 1-9 a "9 Terminus" and the 1-5 a "5 Terminus". Ha ha - but gave up on that whole idea.
  12. What is the weight balance top to bottom differences on your adjustable razors?
  13. WoW! What a find
  14. Highspeedlane

    Highspeedlane Contributor Contributor

    Interesting. So having "1 to 9" gave the marketing illusion there was more "adjustability". Sneaky sneaky!
  15. KQY61

    KQY61 Contributor


    I was gonna say the same thing, except I was going to call them 'half-stop' and 'full-stop' like we used to call out camera lenses in the manual focus days. ;)

    As far as Prototype goes, anything made in small quantities to test out ideas is properly called a Prototype. There is another category, Pre-Series, for medium quantities manufactured to test out how well a production line actually functions. Protoytpes might be made on a line, or in more of a laboratory setting, equally well.

    I always liked to use the letter P for prototypes and the letter R for released to differentiate. Then, I would use a number for the major changes and another letter for minor. IE, P2F or R1B. These would be stamped on the unit, or printed on a label, so everyone always could tell what was what.

    Obviously, Gillette did not subscribe to the same theory of documentation..... ;)

  16. Very well stated!
    This also goes for limited production, one offs and the one offs made by employees for themselves. I've heard all of these called prototypes.
  17. Very cool, Glenn! Thank you for sharing.
  18. Graybeard57

    Graybeard57 Contributor

    Fascinating as usual, Glenn. So, how does it shave?
  19. Bravo Glenn, keep them coming.
  20. Great photos and info Glenn.

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