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The SS Black Handle

A short while ago, I mentioned the four styles of Super-Speed black handle razors. A forum member asked for photos, so here they are...

In the first four photos, you see (L-R): 1968 N2 @ 46g, 1972 R3 @ 47g, and 1979 Z1 @ 48g. The last photo is a 1983 D2 with the diamond grip pattern. (MTGrayling has a more appropriate name for this grip pattern, but I've forgotten it.)

Notice the diamond shape of the head turns to a shorter, broader diamond and then to a rectangle. The side view shows another small change. (I don't know how to describe it other than saying the second two razors are "open" and the first/earlier razor has two metal lips--one on each side--obscuring the view inside.)

Also, the 1968 has an anodized aluminum handle. The 1972 has a painted plastic handle. (I always thought it was painted metal. Oops!) I'll post the transition date code after a little more research.

The last one was sold a while ago. (I miss it.)

It's interesting. In my personal SS research, I've found several instances where the information I've read in the forum or in some other reference source is completely wrong. So I started gathering information based on what I witness and verify with my own two eyes. Of course, in my research database I still sometimes use the phrase "B&B Member Inventory" to designate a razor model or date code I have not personally verified, but I feel may be correct given the forum member's collection experience.

I'm rambling again...

Nice Christopher. I had not seen the rectangular SS before. Interesting.

I do have two slim twists and one has the diamond base plate the other is rectangular.
Great Job!

What can you tell us about your experience with them as shavers?

Any differences there? Do tell.
I think the more important issue here is that I remember from my childhood that my grandfather's radio handle was Little Joe from Kokomo (IN).

Second only to that important piece of shaving nostalgia is the question of how the black handles perform. I've shaved with the 1966 L4 (which is the same as the 1971 R3) and the 1979 Z1. Both are fine shavers. I couldn't really tell a difference other than the texture of the grip. (And it's a HUGE difference that, believe it or not, added to the enjoyment of the shave.)

The early aluminum handle models have a more aggressive bite to the grip. You can feel it almost cutting away at the skin, and it sticks like glue. Good stuff. (Especially if you're a shaving butterfingers like me.) The later plastic handles have a smooth, glossy feel to them. Personally, I dig the feel of the plastic handles. It's glossy smoothiness (the perfect description) just feels so mellow--everything a good morning shave should be, and the perfect reflection of the typical mellow smoothiness of a Gillette Super-Speed shave.

Did that answer the question, or am I rambling again? =)

I think the more important issue here is that I remember from my childhood that my grandfather's radio handle was Little Joe from Kokomo (IN).
That's pretty interesting. When I was a kid I saw a movie with Paul Sorvino, he played the role of a Mexican immigrant who befriends a young boy with no father. It was called Angel and big Joe. The boy nicknamed Paul's character "big Joe from Mexico". I'm only 5' 4" so I'm Little Joe from Mexico.

Did that answer the question, or am I rambling again? =)
Well I take it you enjoy these SS Black Handles. The reason I asked is I just picked up one with the "Diamond grip pattern" in great condition at an antique shop for $6.00 and haven't tried it yet. Really looking forward to it. :thumbup1:
The reason I asked is I just picked up one with the "Diamond grip pattern" in great condition at an antique shop for $6.00 and haven't tried it yet. Really looking forward to it. :thumbup1:
You're going to LOVE it! That grip is solid and unslippable. (Is that a word?) Enjoy! (And if you get tired of it, send it my way.)

By the way...what's the date code on your razor?

CJBianco - In response to your last post in this thread. My Waffle Grip SS is a 1984 E1. As you can see, like the one you pictured, the bottom of the head is square. The sides are also open (no lips).

I haven't tried it yet. I did clean it with scrubbing bubbles and Bon Ami. Then I soaked it in Barcide. Since this is my first plastic handle, I'm afraid to polish it with Maas. Any suggestions?
What a beautiful razor! I am so jealous. (Argh!) Congratulations.

Any suggestions? Hmm...I'll say the same thing I said over and over again in the bars of Mexico on my birthday last year: "No mas!"

Just use Scrubbing Bubbles, a toothbrush, warm water, and a little more soap. (The soap may be redundant with the Scrubbing Bubbles, but I'd use it anyway.)

The final step is to send it my way! =)

Hello, Everyone.

It's been a long time since I was shaving with DEs and collecting/cataloging all the various Gillette Super Speed models, and I'm hoping that you guys can help me solve a puzzle.

My curiosity got the best of me recently, and I picked up this little NOS 1979 Z1 Gillette Super Speed Black Handle. Obviously, the interesting thing here is the odd packaging. It seems that for a short time during 1979, Gillette may have been attempting to market (or test-market) the Gillette Super Speed as the Gillette Double Track (R). Has anyone heard of this before?

The packaging is exactly the same as the standard 1979 Z1 Super Speed packaging (red cardboard, three holes punched across top, same silver blade pack) except that it doesn't read Gillette on the packaging or blade pack. Instead, there is an oval sticker on the top which reads "Double Track (R)" and "Distributed by the Gillette Company." In addition, though it is difficult to see in photos because of the texture to the clear plastic, the underside of the razor head has the usual block letter GILLETTE Z 1 markings as seen in the razor at the start of this thread. (Which is why I chose to resurrect this thread instead of starting a new one.)

This is clearly a Gillette Super Speed in generic Gillette packaging with a Gillette Double Track (R) sticker. The question is why?

Personally, I no longer collect and catalog all the various Gillette Super Speed models, but I am hopelessly curious, especially when it comes to my old love, the Gillette Super Speed. (That, and I felt as though this odd packaging variation was worth recording for posterity in a forum post.)

So I'm posting a few photos of it here, along with a photo of standard 1979 Z1 Super Speed packaging. Hopefully, someone can provide a little more insight.


Standard Gillette SS 1979 Z1 Packaging:
$Gillette SS 1979 Z1.jpg

Gillette Double Track 1979 Z1 Packaging:
$Gillette Double Track 1979.JPG

$Gillette Double Track Logo.JPG

$Gillette Double Track Plastic.JPG
UPDATE: I just found two very similar Gillettes on Achim's website (Hi, Achim!) -- the 1976 W4 Democrat and the 1976 W2 Depilex-Razor. I wonder why Gillette made so many variations. Hmm...

God bless you, Achim, for keeping such a wonderful Gillette archive.

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