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The Tech head, and why a Senator is not a Regent Tech.

So I was looking around on ebay, and I saw some super speeds referred to as techs, and I thought about messaging the seller to inform him, when it occurred to me that he was right. Gillette made the "Tech" head in two forms, a three piece and a one piece.
I haven't heard much debate about it recently, but I remember that we used to think that some Senators were sold as Regent Tech's, and I think now that the word "Tech" is pretty solid evidence that it didn't happen, or if it did happen, it wasn't supposed to.
 

nemo

Cheaper than ink
I haven't heard of the open comb TTO razors referred to that but I do have a '47 Aristocrat with the Gillette instruction sheet calling it a Tech!
 
A Regent Tech is a Solid Bar TTO.

A Senator is an Open Comb TTO.

They are totally two different Razors. You can't pass one off foe the other, The Heads are a "Dead Giveaway".
 
A Regent Tech is a Solid Bar TTO.

A Senator is an Open Comb TTO.

They are totally two different Razors. You can't pass one off foe the other, The Heads are a "Dead Giveaway".

"Tech" was the name of the new technology of solid guard bar. It comes first 1938/39 with the 3-piece Tech razors. The first TTO with solid guard bar are called "Regent Tech", "Aristocrat Tech", "Milord Tech", "Ranger Tech". Around 1948 they use the term "Tech" only for the 3-piece razors.

To call the Senator as Regent Tech is a mistake in the Krumholzbook page 246

I agree with these esteemed gents, but I can also see an argument based on the construction of the guard plate. Characteristic of the Tech was its stamped guard plate with diamond-shaped stiffener (US2270388). The earliest OC TTOs seem to share that, albeit in open-comb form and using thick-ish metal. Oddly the patent for that feature was not filed until 1938, by which time the OC TTOs were heading into the sunset. The early TTO patents do not discuss stamping nor show a diamond-shaped stiffener. Speculating, I suppose they introduced it to bring down production costs for the OC TTOs but did not think the feature was was worth patenting right away.

Of course there were other hybrids: early UK "Techs" with thick, machined guard plates and later open-comb Techs with thin, stamped guard plates. Anyway I suppose my point is that both the stamped guard plate and the safety bars were part of an evolution. The older razors were mechanically simple, but relatively labor-intensive and material-intensive. The newer razors were made using less material and fewer steps. At the low end this enabled giveaway pricing for three-piece models. At the high end it enabled greater mechanical complexity: TTOs and then adjustables.
 
Looking at some of Gillette's advertisements of the transition period clears the air of any doubt. Thanks to Achim we can see in 1939 there is only one razor listed as a Tech and it is the razor that we all know to be the 3 piece Tech (item #3). None of the open comb razors bare that label.

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By the next year, December 1940 all of the razors are solid bar construction but one in this advertisement and all of the solid bar razors are sporting the label Tech.

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Oh, I was not disputing the advertised names: just describing how I see the design evolution and why US2270388 was important.

After all it was up to Gillette to use the word "Tech" or not. That last ad shows the "Milord Tech", where we usually just call it a Milord. There was very little difference between, say, the Regent Tech and the Super Speed line. Once the new tech-nology was introduced and the OC models retired, pretty much all the Gillettes used both safety bars and a stamped guard plate. So they were all Techs. But once that happened there was no point advertising it anymore.

I suspect "Tech" hung on at the low end for market segmentation reasons: Tech is to Super Speed as "pure badger" is to "best badger". The more expensive segment is expected to have all the features of the cheaper models, so there is no need to say it.
 
Very interesting and thanks for posting the ads. I really love the history of these classic American razors.
 
Here you can see more old ads :)

Thanks, Achim. I have been to your site before, but not the ads part. Extremely interesting. I love that old commercial art. Don't you wish you had some of the original drawings/paintings? Unfortunately, most of them were just tossed after publication. No one regarded them as worthy of keeping.
 
Thanks, Achim. I have been to your site before, but not the ads part. Extremely interesting. I love that old commercial art. Don't you wish you had some of the original drawings/paintings? Unfortunately, most of them were just tossed after publication. No one regarded them as worthy of keeping.

The most of the shown ads are in my collection
 
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