Questions/Advice about my first vintage Old Type (photos included)

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by JayFromBrooklyn, Sep 13, 2019 at 1:27 AM.

    I came across my first vintage “wild find” at a local thrift store for around 20 bucks. It’s a Gillette Old Type with ball end handle… with no date code, no patent number, no serial number. Just a Gillette diamond logo and Made in USA on the baseplate. It came in (I think) the Brownie case and had a Domino blade from New York, NY.

    It has the usual handle crack that I’ve seen in other posts, but it’s very small/thin/hairline, I didn’t even notice it until I started cleaning the razor, at first in the store I thought I got lucky and found an un-cracked one…you can see it marked in the pics with a red circle.

    I have some questions about it and I’m also looking for some advice.

    The origin questions –
    1. What year do you think this is from?
    2. Would it be considered a Brownie or a Khaki set? I’m leaning towards Brownie since the case actually does look like a chocolate brownie.
    3. From the side view pics with the red circles around the you think it’s a thin cap or thick cap?

    Advice questions-
    4. When cleaning it, the top threaded part of the handle popped off like a cork (shown in photo). It popped back together very tightly and doesn’t spin, isn’t loose, and doesn’t seem like it would be a problem while shaving….but is there some kind of glue or epoxy or some method to lock that piece back into the handle more permanently and possibly seal the crack too?
    5. How can I clean/disinfect the case, especially the inside fabric? Now that the razor has been thoroughly cleaned and polished I don’t want to put it back into that dirty old case. All the Gillette lettering has been totally worn away so I don’t have to worry about preserving the letters or the logo.

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  1. Raven Koenes

    Raven Koenes Contributor

    That cleaned up nicely. You could take the top threaded part back off and use JB Weld and paint the crack with it from the inside, and then JB Weld the top threaded part back on.
  2. A small dab of 2 part epoxy will work as well. You may need to sand down the male tenon on the threaded piece slightly to provide a better gap for the epoxy to fill, doesn't take much. You can also add some weight in the handle while it is open if you like a heavier razor. A bolt with the head cut off works well. There are several threads on repair of this type handle. I believe this is a thick cap made during the 1920's. Looks to be great shape. Enjoy the shaves.
  3. Congrats on your first Old Type. It definitely cleaned up nicely. The crack is probably stabilized since it isn't all that big. Just be careful with it. There are videos that show how to repair a crack if you are so inclined to tackle that task. But it isn't necessary. The cap appears to be a thick cap from what I can see from the picture. Thin caps are typically found on the Single Rings, although I suppose some ball end versions as well. As for the piece that popped off, as jbr63 and Raven Koenes said, a small bit of epoxy can solve that problem pretty quickly, but may not be necessary either since it's not loose. The most important part is shaving with it. It looks ready to go. Enjoy your shaves with it. I love the Old Type and have several. It's a great razor. Arguably the best Gillette ever made.
  4. This is a thick cap Gillette Old Type razor from the 1920's. Your razor is approximately 95 years old.

    Ignore the crack. It gives the razor an authentic personality. A dab of something from the hardware store will keep the top end of the handle together and secure. But if it's tight, that's optional.

    The bottom knob pulls off in a similar fashion, and if it comes loose (it may not) the fix would be the same.

    The thick cap OT shaves slightly milder and smoother than the earlier thin cap OT's.

    If desired, a shim or two under the blade will make the razor more aggressive.

    As to cleaning the case, if you have a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment I would use that to start, but be gentle. Then take a wash cloth that is saturated with warm soapy water that is thoroughly wrung out, and blot thoroughly and repeatedly the felt-like interior. Use care and be gentle. Don't overdo the cleaning process. The fabric is ancient. Likewise, gently clean the exterior of the case with the damp cloth. Afterwards let it dry thoroughly in the sunlight for several hours to sanitize.

    That should do it.
  5. I tried it this morning and it was awesome!!! Used along with other traditional classics-, Gillette platinum blade, boar brush, Williams puck, Aqua Velva blue, then a little later I splashed on some Pinaud Clubman for clubman Friday. Great close shave, so smooth and comfortable, no nick's, no weepers, just totally perfect.
  6. REV579

    REV579 Contributor

    That is a good one. The most important part is the first the guard. Are the tines strait and uniform? Your guard looks great. Secondly, does the cap fit flush? By fitting flush, it keeps the blade locked in and stiff. Again, looks good. As for the handle, until you "stabilize" the crack, loosen and tighten by holding the ferrule, not the tube. This has become my regular practice regardless of whether or not there is a crack or a loose ferrule.
    Be prepared for your next surprise...why did it take so long to use it and why aren't other folks using it more.
  7. Cap is flush, teeth are straight, and with the the way it shined up I can't believe this thing is a hundred years old
  8. Great razor!! Congratulations!! :a29:

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