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Safety Razor Of the Week, 9/8-10/4 The J.A. Henckel Wotan

The J.A. Henckel, Wotan 1909

Circa 1909

This week I would like to take a look at and discuss the J.A. Henckel, Wotan SE Safety Razor. Many of us have seen the str8's that were made by J.A. Henckels but how many of you have seen the safeties that were made? I have only seen pictures of 4 other sets and one in person.
I was not able to find hardly any information about these razor but I can safely say this is a rather unusual yet very interesting razor. When I first purchased this razor all I could think about was how barbaric it looked and how scary it would be to shave with something like this. I simply could not fathom the thought.

The history of the ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS brand begins on June 13, 1731 (under the Gemini star sign). It was on that day that knife-maker Peter Henckels from Solingen registered the "TWIN" symbol as his trademark with the Cutlers´ Guild of Solingen. This symbol, which is now well-known all over the world, is thus one of the oldest trademarks in the world.

Today´s name - ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS - was given to the Company by a descendant of Peter Henckels, Johann Abraham Henckels. As you can see (below) The company had a store located on 5th Ave, NYC in the early 1900's.

The Wotan is 11.5cm long, 4cm wide and weights in at 56 grams. It uses a single edge blade that is fitted to the razor face and tension is placed on the blade by spring-loaded clips on either side. The blade is held into place by a wire clip, hinging from the back that is tightened down by a turn-knob that puts pressure on the backbone of the blade.

How could I share my thoughts about this fine marvel without actually shaving with it? So this afternoon I dug out my hone and gave the blade a good working over until I had it shave ready.
My set comes with a honing/stropping handle, which I used to complete the job.
I stropped the blade as I would any of my str8’s and placed it in the razor.
This process was really the only drawback to this piece.

I proceeded to go through my prep, lathered up and gave it a go. I did my normal, three passes, wtg, xtg and atg. All went rather well save for under my nose which was difficult to reach do to the size and shape of the razor head.

I finished up to a passable, close clean shave with no nicks or irritation. Not BBS but that’s ok with me. This razor really surprised the heck out of me. I know I will be using it from time to time from now on. Here is my SOTD today.

If you find yourself with the chance to try one of these beauties, take it!

Any and all information about this razor is more than welcomed.

Back to Safety Razor of the Week.
i have a 1915 rapide, which is VERY similar.

interestingly enough, they can take SE blades, even though i doubt they were meant to.
You know, I saw something like this (it may have had seven blades for each day of the week). It was a Henckels. The strop was crumbling to dust, though, so I passed on it. It was an interesting piece of workmanship, though. And looked to be in fine shape.

If it could take a modern DE or SE blade, I might go back and take a look at it.
Very interesting. I got rid of my rolls because it just wasn't satisfying me, and for that reason I don't think I would probably get much out of that.

Pretty piece all the same!
Very interesting. I got rid of my rolls because it just wasn't satisfying me, and for that reason I don't think I would probably get much out of that.

Pretty piece all the same!
This does not even compare to the Rolls. It is a totally different beast.
Very cool Ray! I look forward to these installments each week. Thanks for putting the time in to them!
That is interesting for sure, but I enjoyed using the blade that was ment for this razor. The razor you mentioned is one of the other sets I've seen.
im probably gonna hate myself for this, but the allegro type E razor hone/stropper is meant for wedge blades. they dont come up too often though.
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