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The Mystery of the Gillette Single Ring

Gentlemen,
Happy New Year! I hope this one turns out better than 2020.
I recently acquired a vintage Gillette Single Ring in incredible condition. Very clean, no damage found (no hairline cracks or bent teeth).
One of the cleanest razors I own (and I have quite the collection).

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But this one is driving me crazy, since it's one of those razors that can't really be dated, at least to my knowledge.
As you can see in the pictures, the razor features the classic "G" inside a square (not D).
It doesn't have the "MADE IN" inscription and the cap doesn't have the "Gillette" logo on it.
The serial number can be found on the guard. Unfortunately, it's almost unreadable.
My best guess is either E 31139 or E 31109.

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Here is where it gets weird:
The patent on the razor is PAT NOV 15,04.N (USA) ending with an N (I don't know what it means).
But the bottom of the case refers to the British Patent Nº 28763 of 1902.

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I don't understand. Was it made in England or USA? and what's the year of production?

I know there is an entire thread dedicated to dating English Single Rings, but apparently this one isn't made in England (I think so).
A little help from you gents will be appreciate it.

Cheers!
 
P.S: I think the razor could have been made between 1908 and 1914, as this was the year they introduced the cardboard blade holders on Standard Sets. Also, the logo on the case doesn't have the "MADE IN USA" inscription.

Here is a picture of my 1914 American SR with one blade holder and the same logo on the case as the new one:

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Hello, lovely set. British Single rings are a very deep rabbit hole and as far as I know, there are only guesses on who, when made/sold what.
Single rings with British patents came from three sources:
Boston: early razors, British patent and US serial number (usually A or earlier)
Leicester: nothing is sure, most likely British patent, serial number in E, F, H range
Montreal: nothing is sure, most likely British patent or Pat. Nov. N, serial number in E, F, H range
Boston most likely supplied England before Leicester was built and after Leicester was closed Montreal supplied England. There is a good chance that Montreal also sent razors to England while Leicester was active.
The placement of the serial number from inner tube to top of comb was changed around 1909 in Boston, most likely the other companies also followed this practice.
Canadian serial numbers came in to versions, early with C prefix, later with no letter prefix.
Low serials from the C range are stamped onto the inner barrel.
My theory is that Canada used its own serial numbers with an E, F (or H) stamped before the number if the razor went to Europe.
If this is true, than your razor should be an early example of the no prefix serial numbered razors, made in Canada while Leicester was still in business.
It's not known when and why Montreal dropped the C prefix, wether they used their own serials for export razors, why and when Pat.Nov.N patent was used, what E, F, H prefixes stood for, so it's all guesses.
 
Hello, lovely set. British Single rings are a very deep rabbit hole and as far as I know, there are only guesses on who, when made/sold what.
Single rings with British patents came from three sources:
Boston: early razors, British patent and US serial number (usually A or earlier)
Leicester: nothing is sure, most likely British patent, serial number in E, F, H range
Montreal: nothing is sure, most likely British patent or Pat. Nov. N, serial number in E, F, H range
Boston most likely supplied England before Leicester was built and after Leicester was closed Montreal supplied England. There is a good chance that Montreal also sent razors to England while Leicester was active.
The placement of the serial number from inner tube to top of comb was changed around 1909 in Boston, most likely the other companies also followed this practice.
Canadian serial numbers came in to versions, early with C prefix, later with no letter prefix.
Low serials from the C range are stamped onto the inner barrel.
My theory is that Canada used its own serial numbers with an E, F (or H) stamped before the number if the razor went to Europe.
If this is true, than your razor should be an early example of the no prefix serial numbered razors, made in Canada while Leicester was still in business.
It's not known when and why Montreal dropped the C prefix, wether they used their own serials for export razors, why and when Pat.Nov.N patent was used, what E, F, H prefixes stood for, so it's all guesses.

Thank you for the explanation Adam.
It's a shame that we will never know for sure what was really going on back in the day. I'm not even sure if Gillette actually keeps records for things like this.
I think we as collectors, have more knowledge of this matter than Gillette officials.
 
Hello, lovely set. British Single rings are a very deep rabbit hole and as far as I know, there are only guesses on who, when made/sold what.
Single rings with British patents came from three sources:
Boston: early razors, British patent and US serial number (usually A or earlier)
Leicester: nothing is sure, most likely British patent, serial number in E, F, H range
Montreal: nothing is sure, most likely British patent or Pat. Nov. N, serial number in E, F, H range
Boston most likely supplied England before Leicester was built and after Leicester was closed Montreal supplied England. There is a good chance that Montreal also sent razors to England while Leicester was active.
The placement of the serial number from inner tube to top of comb was changed around 1909 in Boston, most likely the other companies also followed this practice.
Canadian serial numbers came in to versions, early with C prefix, later with no letter prefix.
Low serials from the C range are stamped onto the inner barrel.
My theory is that Canada used its own serial numbers with an E, F (or H) stamped before the number if the razor went to Europe.
If this is true, than your razor should be an early example of the no prefix serial numbered razors, made in Canada while Leicester was still in business.
It's not known when and why Montreal dropped the C prefix, wether they used their own serials for export razors, why and when Pat.Nov.N patent was used, what E, F, H prefixes stood for, so it's all guesses.

Great explanation! That is, as far as anyone can explain the possibilities. :clap: :clap:
 
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