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Guide to American Button Company Pocket Edition Sets: Part Two - Cases

This is part 2 of 2 in our introduction of the American Button Company pocket razor contracted by The Gillette Safety Razor Co. In this thread, we focus on the cases themselves. Part one (Razors) focused on the razors. It is a joint project of Len (Oldguy) and myself and is meant to introduce these fine little razors to the members of B&B who may not be familiar with them. Len did most of the grunt work of taking photos, writing the material, and provided much of the information. And I helped with revising and writing some of the information and did the formatting. We hope that you enjoy the fruits of our labor.


CASE DESIGNS AND MATERIALS

The cases came in six different patterns:
1) Empire
2) Flower
3) Shell
4) Basket Weave
5) Plain
6) Leather

As with the razors, the metal cases came in either silver or gold. But unlike the razors, some cases have a Gunmetal finish and there is even a rarely seen leather case.

The Empire case in silver


The Flower case in silver


The Shell case in silver


The Basket Weave case in Gunmetal finish


The Plain case in silver


And the rare Leather case



CASE VARIATIONS

Easily Confused Case Styles
Gillette made cases for their pocket edition razor with a very similar design to the American Button Company cases that are often confused with cases actually made by the American Button Company. The American Button Company cases are identifiable by the following features:

1) An imprint of patent dates on the bottom of the case. Cases made by Gillette do not have this imprint, but American Button Company cases do have it. The imprint with the patent dates looks like this:


2) American Button Company cases have a patch with the Gillette trademark diamond logo, but lack the "Made in USA" stitching. Cases with a patch that have the "Made in USA" stitching were made by Gillette. In the first photo, note the patch with the Made in USA stitching absent. And in the second photo, note the patch with the Made in USA stitching present. The first is an American Button Company case and the second is made by Gillette. Finally, in the third photo, there is another case that completely lacks the patch, which means it was made by Gillette and is not an American Button Company case.

Patch w/ no "Made in USA:"


Patch w/ "Made in USA:"


No patch:


Case Thicknesses
American Button Company cases came in two different thicknesses. Note that in the photo below, the Basket Weave case on the left is thicker than the Empire case on the right.


Engravings
Most of the cases (Empire, Shell, Flower, Basket Weave) had a space in the center that allowed the owner to have their initials or name engraved. Some chose to have it engraved and others did not. Note that in the photo below, the top Flower case is not engraved whereas the bottom one is engraved.


Opening Styles:
There are three opening mechanisms to the American Button Company cases:
1) Latch
2) Push button w/ 4 rivets. Top two are joined by another piece.
3) Push button w/ 4 rivets

Here is one with a latch (*note* The latch for the Gillette made cases have no rivets at all but appear to be spot welded instead):


One with four rivets. Note the rivets on the top differ in this case from the following photo:


One with four rivets, but without the piece connecting the two at the top:


As this thread evolves, additions are very welcome as well as pointing out any errors.
 
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Brian, this is wonderfully done! Your fine overview may drive me to again collect these great sets! Great pics, also. This should be a wiki or sticky.

Thanks so much!
 
very great thread - thanks for sharing this beautys. Here´s a little supplement:

The style of the case gives the set the name:

Plain:

No500: Triple Silver Plated Case and Razor
No500 A: Gun Metal Case and Gold Plated Razor
No500 B: Gold Plated Case and Razor

Basket Pattern:

No501: Triple Silver Plated Case and Razor
No501 A: Gun Metal Case and Gold Plated Razor
No501 B: Gold Plated Case and Razor

Shell Pattern:

No502: Triple Silver Plated Case and Razor
No502 A: Gun Metal Case and Gold Plated Razor
No502 B: Gold Plated Case and Razor

Flower Pattern:

No503: Triple Silver Plated Case and Razor
No503 A: Gun Metal Case and Gold Plated Razor
No503 B: Gold Plated Case and Razor

Empire Pattern:

No504: Triple Silver Plated Case and Razor
No504 A: Gun Metal Case and Gold Plated Razor
No504 B: Gold Plated Case and Razor

Leather case:

No505
No505 ?: Triple Silver Plated Razor
No505 ?: Gold Plated Razor

All these set´s comes as Pocket Edition (with Patents on the backside of the case) and as "normal" set´s.
All these set´s comes with the whole mix of Flower-, Empire-, Shell-, or Basket-Pattern handles (ABC set´s) and with "normal" Old Type razors. The Canadian Old Type handles are most thinner than the US Old Types.
 
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you guys are awesome.


I am positively aching for a silver Floral.

[Almost had one awhile ago, too!]



very nicely done, Brian & Len. Thanks.


EDIT/FOLLOW UP: Silver Floral on the way! GOT IT! Now I'm in the Brian/Len League.
 
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WOW...thank you for putting together such a resource, now I just have to stumble on a box of these in the back of some antique store...the hunt is on!
 

Jake

Contributor
Great posts -- thanks Brian & Achim. Those were the days when shaving implements were works of art -- and the craftsmanship in making them was something the makers were proud of. Thanks for the great informaiton and wonderful photos!
 
Thanks for the contribution, Achim. And thanks to the others for the kind words. Len and I had a good time bouncing ideas back and forth to put everything together. They really are beautiful razors as well as great shaves and we hoped it would be a helpful guide. I know when I first got interested in them, there wasn't much out there. So, hopefully this will make a good contribution. But for those who have yet to get interested in these, be forewarned: ABC-AD can be quite costly if you aren't careful.
 
I just won a double ring ABC with what I'm hoping is the leather case. I'm sure there's no leather left though.
Thanks for putting this info up. I was thinking I'd won a decent double ring with a mis-matched box, but now I'm kinda excited to see what I get!!
 
Hello Brian. I saw one on eBay recently with a wooden case

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190393234541&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT


Do you think that it's an original Gillette case and matched to the right razor?
That looks to be an original ABC case and razor. My leather covered case is made of wood and the male snap is identical. This set came in three different leather coverings, black cowhide, black seal and pigskin. Besides the seller having the razor backwards the case is also upside down. The Gillette diamond patch is missing which is not uncommon.

Len
 
That looks to be an original ABC case and razor. My leather covered case is made of wood and the male snap is identical. This set came in three different leather coverings, black cowhide, black seal and pigskin. Besides the seller having the razor backwards the case is also upside down. The Gillette diamond patch is missing which is not uncommon.

Len
Nice!! I was hoping up until this thread that I'd be outbid, but now I'm pretty stoked that I won for a decent price. Thanks again guys! I always wondered just how many variations were really made.
 
you often see these cases with standard old type razors and not the different razors with the more ornate handles. are these mismatched sets or are they some of the sets sold by gillette utilizing the cases with their standard razors?
 
you often see these cases with standard old type razors and not the different razors with the more ornate handles. are these mismatched sets or are they some of the sets sold by gillette utilizing the cases with their standard razors?
these cases comes with "normal" Old Type razors too
 
Outstanding thread Brian! Thanks so much for putting this together!! Obviously it has a special interest for me!
 
XLNT...Excellent...I have been Waiting for this thread for a while....Thanks for sharing your Knowledge,your Time,and the Pics of(what i think) the nicest razors ever made....AWESOME COLLECTIONS GUYS+++!...does this mean that there were over 400 possible razor finish/case finish/combinations of these razors,for the total years they were produced??
 
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