Super Speed Razors: The Post World War II Shaving Culture in America to 1955

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by mgbbrown, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Steve; There is no sourcing for the photograph, so I agree. Things seem far to tranquil for it to be in the war zone I am thinking. Wartime photographs have usually rain, snow, or copious amounts of mud to deal with, or taken in areas that are safe by being generally blown to bits by the 8th Army Air force... God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown Using Truck to Shave WWII.jpg
  2. packtray

    packtray Contributor

    The site itself no longer exists, but I have walked the ground. It's not far from my old unit at Bragg.

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  3. packtray

    packtray Contributor

    I recognize those shards! Wattle-pressed, patterned by impression of woven wood or cloth prior to firing. I spent free time as an artifact conservator at Bragg, and worked on quite a bit of that stuff.

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  4. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Packtray; It is a small world indeed! The North Carolina Piedmont settlement pattern and also for the Coastal Plain at Fort Bragg was that at the confluence of a river and first order stream, and the third flood plain above the meeting point- a prehistoric site can be found. These would be along the Little River near the post. Woodland phases of North Carolina prehistory were hallmarked by such pottery types, as well as smaller, triangular shaped projectile points such as the Badin point. Fort Bragg was not too terribly far from one of the best sources of high grade rhyolite- Morrow Mountain in the Uwharries. Folks ask me all the time why I became a nurse- well, it was not a straight-line from point A to point B I assure you- I wanted to help folks hands-on, and wanted to do so as quickly as possible. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  5. During the postwar era, the blue blade (and later the Super Blue blade (silicone coated, introduced in 1958) were made from carbon steel. These were very sharp blades and sharper than Gillette's first production stainless steel blades that were introduced in 1963. I began shaving with a brand new Super Speed in the early 1960's, and this is what I recall after using these various blades until they went out of production.
  6. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Thank you for your post and comments on the original Blue Blades. I will have to give them a rey one more time... God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown Gillette 1949 Super Speed Loaded with a 1956 B2 Blue Blade from a 20 Blade Dispenser.JPG
  7. Interesting stuff
  8. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    pasture in Snow.jpg Thank you Motown! I hope Detroit was spared this last blast of winter weather! God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  9. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    I have not added to my bevy of Super Speeds or any related period shaving cultural items for some time now, as I have been both busy with preparing a 1950's office (a true testimony to my Luddite leanings) and hampered by personal illness, which frankly has taken the wind out of my sails. Today has been an improvement, as I am not as fatigued from the Verapamil side affects as I was when it was first introduced to combat a sudden hypertensive crisis. Hopefully it will control my rampant pulse rate as well. I will start running again once the smoke clears under my doctor's supervision. As for the bronchitis- Dex Utter, who is a dentist by trade, says to polish my throat with Flitz, and I will take that on advisement of course. It may just do the trick...

    I have been interested in Blue Willow ware, as I inherited several nice containers and planters from my late mother's estate. Her best friend in Raleigh collected examples as well, and both of these women were instrumental in my love of antiques from an early age. Not many teenagers could claim to own a Mason Standard Canvasback duck decoy from the 1920's, or a pit-sawed dowry chest from the 1600's, or use a Hamilton Railroad Standard Watch that was the last of the civilian production before making their now sought-after military timers used by the 8th Air Force. Needless to say, their influences affected my decision to become an archaeologist as a first career. I now read National Geographic and American Antiquity, and remain interested from afar.

    In studying the history of Blue Willow patterned ceramics, I learned that it is the most famous and most popular china pattern ever produced by a long shot, and even turned up in historic Southwestern archaeological site excavations I was involved with outside of Cimarron, New Mexico in the North Ponil Canyon. Settlers brought these into the Ponil and Vermejo Valleys from their previous lives, when they decided to move West for opportunities in the vast logging industry afforded by the advancement of the Cimarron and Northwestern Railroad into these canyons, in order to log the large Ponderosa Pine stands for use as railroad ties and for gold mine support beams in the Baldytown or Elizabeth City mining districts.

    The most reported story says that the Blue Willow design was the creation of the famous Josiah Spode, a derivation of an original Chinese pattern called Mandarin. Spode developed his willow pattern sometime around 1790. The traditional Blue Willow design always features a large beautiful Chinese home with a willow tree, a small bridge with 3 figures, a humble servants house at the foot of the bridge, a small Chinese boat, and of course, the famous love birds above the willow tree. Noteworthy for the early Super Speed era, Blue Willow ware was produced by several large potteries in Japan and funded by an influx of capital through the Marshall Plan. Pieces were hallmarked OCCUPPIED JAPAN for those made immediately following Japan's surrender, and JAPAN after the military occupation ended, as well as during the Korean War period. The intricate Blue Willow ware patterns found on these pieces was accomplished by placing glaze transfer decals on the surface of the green ware, and the decal was then clear overglazed and kiln-fired to become a Blue Willow Mug Japan Hallmark.JPG Blue Willow Handle Design Mug Japan Hallmark.JPG Blue Willow Mug Inside Lip Design Japan Hallmark.JPG Blue Willow Mug Footrim Japan Hallmark.JPG MacArthur Toby Mug Occupied Japan.jpg part of the piece.

    I was able to locate a nice coffee mug from the Korean War period which was little used, and has a JAPAN hallmark on the footrim. By design this is considered restaurant ware, but could easily have found its way into any house from that era. This one has a larger handle instead of the smaller two-finger handles common on other Blue Willow mugs- so named as the handle is grasped by the thumb and index finger only. The Blue Willow decal transfer covers the entire outside of the mug, and is also decaled on the inside near the lip of the piece. The mug is quite a nice departure from the more traditional green-striped restaurant ware mugs in my medicine cabinet.

    Research into the ceramics of the period, as produced by makers in Occupied Japan, pointed in the direction that character mugs, or Toby Mugs, named after Toby Fillpot, an infamous drunkard made famous in the tavern song “The Brown Jug” that was popular in England in the late 1700’s- were flourishing in their popularity. All of the major WWII leaders were mugged, if you will. I am looking for a McArthur mug to complete the final acquisition. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  10. Very beautiful stuff, Tony!

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  11. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Thanks Adam! I want a full report on that Pinewood Derby car for your son Sir! I'll post a photo tonight of mine from the 1960's that I restored. The Blue Willow mug, aside from being rather different and upscale to my other period shaving mugs- is humongous. I mean, a cake of Modern Williams can run around on the inside! Aside from the size, it is very lightweight, and made of porcelain rather than the denser earthenware clays found along the Allegany River or its tributaries where most of the larger period US potteries were located. Interestingly- all of the elements of the Blue Willow pattern are present- a large beautiful Chinese home with a willow tree, a small bridge with 3 figures, a humble servants house at the foot of the bridge, a small Chinese boat, and of course, the famous love birds above the willow tree. I must say that it is different, but it is absolutely historically correct for the early Super Speed period. I have also seen the English MacArthur Toby mug, made by Royal Winton during or shortly after WWII, General MacAuthur Royal Winton Toby Mug, Circa 1945.jpg and it is also the business. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  12. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    I promised to post a photograph of my childhood Pinewood Derby car- I am thinking that it dates to around 1965, as my twin brother and I were beginning our Weblos badge work in preparation for being with the big boys in Boy Scouts. Adam, or Keen Dog, one of our stewards, is helping his son build his car for that gravity race. The whole idea is to provide a competitive venue within the Cub Scout pack, but the real goal is to foster a growing and trusting relationship between father and son. The unspoken rule is for Dad not to do all the work of course, allowing Son to grow in his woodcarving and knife-handling skills- essentially boy's work if you will.

    My father was our Cubmaster, and would continue with us as our troop's first assistant Scoutmaster when we made the leap into Scouting. He allowed us to design our cars, and helped with the final assembly, as carving out the lead weight wells was quite a challenge. Already a gearhead- I patterned my car after the front engine Offenhauser powered cars from the Indianapolis 500- but numbering my car as the 98 Shelby Cobra team Car. I was a kid then, so why not...

    When discovered in a Rubbermaid container at my parent's house with a host of other Scouting memorabilia, my Pinewood Derby car was missing a front wheel. A donor car from the same period was found in an antique mall at Cameron Village in Raleigh, which provided the correct replacement wheel and roofing nail axle. The screw was set into the front cross member using Plastic Wood as I did originally, and the matching shade of Testor's paint, still produced, covered the repair perfectly. I hope you and your son win the race Adam- my car came in next to last and my twin brother's came in second place. If I could build another- a '32 Highboy would be perfect I am thinking, this time around. Who said that you are only a boy once... God Bless! Cub Scout Memorabilia Pinewood Derby Circa 1965 Weblos.JPG Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  13. Wow, Tony, she is a beauty. I am envious. There is not near the amount of freedom with the cars these days. They wood already comes precut and they suggest using a coping saw. Ethan has helped drill out the holes, sand, and cut. He helped to put on the wheels and he was the painter and designer of the paint scheme. He did ask Dad to paint on his flames. I did the best I could with 3 kids making a noise hurricane around me! I put the lead in it today and will take it to the hardware store to see where it's at for weight. Then, I will caulk or wood putty the holes closed to keep little fingers away from lead. The Derby is on Saturday. Thank you for the encouragement. I take it to heart. We will try our best.

    Your friend,
  14. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Thank you my friend! You know I am rooting for you and Ethan! God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  15. Northstonehill

    Northstonehill Contributor

    Great reads and fascinating & reflective views on the past and on life itself. As a European I now understand more about the everyday effects on American life of the wars that have been. Life - and even war and piece - I guess is happening while we shave and do all the other chores and activities which make up every day for us. Very well written indeed. I'm far from done reading, but just wanted to share my immediate appreciation. Thanks so much for sharing, and keep me posted.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  16. This is indeed true of war and peace in the United States. My first razor was a post-war Gillette Super Speed, with a blue tip, that I bought in 1965. I used this razor, as well as a Gillette Slim Adjustable (also purchased new) while in military service during the late 1960's. In 1967, I bought that Slim Adjustable for a pittance in a PX at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and would use that razor for at least the next fifteen years.

    There was also a military-issue Gillette TTO razor that I never used and have no idea whatever of what became of it.
  17. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Northstonehill; Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I will continue pressing on as I am able sir! I have never been to Denmark, but it is a fascinating country from an archaeological standpoint- perhaps I can expand my travel bucket list to much further than trans-Canada in my MGB... I will rent a car should I find myself in your beautiful country sir! Perhaps a Viking ring fortress or two should be a must-see. Fyrkat Viking Ring Fortress.jpg Indeed, life is so much more than an accumulation of daily mundane events; but it can be those events that transcend into our lives that transform us so. Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought that razors of any sort would become a focus of interest. It is their cultural context and the events that surround them that heighten our enjoyment. Otherwise, they become a tool to get a job done. The fact of the matter is that some tools are far more equipped at getting that job done than those most readily accessible. I found that out by discovering my fathers razor. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown Coy Brown Father Artifacts.JPG
  18. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Thank you Frank, and thank you for your service in that horrific conflagration we now call the Vietnam War! That event was a hallmark that utterly changed the American cultural scene. I remember seeing a Vietcong bamboo crossbow and punji sticks on display at Fort Jackson's Military Day when I had just become a Cub Scout. This was 1964 or so, and I remember telling my father that I certainly would not like to go there. Having drawn Selective Service number seventeen, I definitely would have seen it all first hand following my high school graduation. I can only imagine how my life would have changed and how differently I may view life now. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown
  19. Tony and Frank - at one of my customers is a mechanic, originally from Vietnam, who was conscripted into the _recent_ Vietnamese Army at age 15. He's.. 30-35 now. It was during one of their fights with Thailand. They still have little regard for people's lives. We talked for a while last week, and he said that he was handed a rifle, zero training, and along with a large number of others was ordered to charge across a field towards the enemy. He survived by falling in a hole, and having two bodies fall on him, covering him with blood. They really have a totally different attitude than Americans/Canadians when it comes to personal survival as well; I won't tell the whole story, but the way he reacted in a couple of situations (as told to me) was contrary to how our soldiers, and Am/Can people in general, would have. I was really baffled. It's interesting to find out that despite being the same species, different groups can have such a huge gap in the ability to understand.
  20. mgbbrown

    mgbbrown Contributor Contributor

    Book; This is immensely troubling and sad of course, as I valued life enough to serve others as quickly as I possibly could, knowing that nursing was indeed that avenue. My focus was surgical nursing, as I wanted to become a military nurse to give to my country what I did not offer as a young man. For me, it took years to develop that understanding, perhaps clouded by selfish desires of wealth and keeping up with the Jones'- if one could find satisfaction in that. I was turned down by every branch of the service despite my skills- one year past the cut-off for enlistment, yet guaranteed an officer had I finished my schooling earlier. There was no exception- I was too old they said. I can only imagine how those drawn into service felt in WWII and later in the Korean War, fighting against the crushing oppression and evil of the Nazi and Imperial Japanese regime, or the spread of Communism and disregard for life evidenced by the government north of the 38th parallel. That was the ideal held by an undivided nation, united in a common regard.

    In the spring of 1944, American forces in Saipan witnessed a “banzai” charge, where nearly 4,000 Japanese soldiers charged American troops and fought to their death. They were following the last orders of their commander, Lieutenant General Yoshisugu Saito, who had called for an all-out surprise attack in the honor of the Emperor before committing ritual suicide. Later on October 24, 1944, during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, the Japanese deploy kamikaze (“divine wind”) suicide bombers against American warships for the first time, sinking thirty-four warships with over five thousand suicides recorded.

    I can only imagine. God Bless! Tony Brown RN mgbbrown Kamakaze Attack Lyte Gulf 1944.jpg

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