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The vintage paradox

Ill start by saying I have really used any vintage blades aside from some platinum plus blades I got from my grandfather, which were very nice. This is more related to a lot of the positive comments people have about how great and long lasting some of the well known vintage blades are.

Since the 60/70's there has been a lot of improvements in both metallurgy and machining tolerances so with that how we're the vintage blades apparently so much better than modern blades? Again related to how great people review and how much people will fork over to get some. Yes, there are good modern blades but why do they not seem to measure up to the vintage ones? They made them once, did they forget how? Steels are better today and the old steel formulas should still able to me made if that was the magic. Even if they cost 2x what premium blades cost today, a recreation of blades like the 74s and light brigades would still cost a lot less than the NOS blades. And the economy of a long lasting, super awesome blade is clear.

I feel like I might need to run for cover but I'm honestly not trying to incite an argument over anyone's favorite blade. It just seems odd that since the 'golden era' blades are so highly regarded why can't they be made again? It seems we have all kinds of advantages today that would enable someone to make an as good or better version of those legendary blades.
 
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are vintage blades better than modern day blades ?? is there empirical scientific data to support this claim ?? nostalgia always trumps logic .... we always yearn for what is rare and what we can't have ....
 
50% of American adults believe that things were better in the past than they are today. Nostalgia is a gold mine on many levels. Nostalgia is handy because it sets an emotional standard that can't be fact-checked. Polished up and edited, memories become stories, stories become myths. Since myths exaggerate by nature, it's hard to live up to them. Chasing vintage blades is ok from a collectors standpoint but if you are chasing the perfect blade, for the perfect shave will you ever be satisfied ??
 
The 60s and 70s were the days of the blade wars, when DE shaving was a very significant market and the companies involved were prepared to put a lot of R&D work and investment into producing the best blades they could. Nor were their engineering and metallurgy skills that shabby; they managed to get men on the moon, which requires a fair degree of precision. These days it just isn't worth it for the remaining producers to put a lot of effort into replicating or bettering the top blades of the past.
 
When You See old photo's and hear stories about Grandpa and Your "Old Man "
They always have toilet paper stuck on their faces after a shave
I always thought that it had to do with the blades of yesteryear .
I started shaving in the 70s and don't recall supper blades.
 
Wilkinson deliberately set out to make the best and longest lasting blade on the market in an attempt to break Gillette's near monopoly on razor blades in the early 60's. Personna also got into the game with the 74, a tungsten coated blade, which also lasted a very long time. Both were stainless, not carbon steel. Gillette had developed a stainless blade a decade or so earlier, but didn't market it for fear of severe sales losses.

Sadly, very long lasting blades aren't very good investments for the manufacturer -- you sell a LOT more blades when most people only get a few shaves from each instead of 100 or more.....

Gillette responded by inventing the multi-blade cartridge which can be re-patented (wrongly in my opinion) every couple years with "improvements" like swivel links and more blades and sold at a very very high premium.

Don't forget, Wilkinson Sword and Personna 74 blades were not the only ones out there, just the best of them. Lots of mediocre blades available.

Modern premium blades are probably better since they are coated with diamond like carbon which is somewhat harder than tungsten. Polsilver SI, the 7 o'clocks, and similar blades should be as good, probably even run of the mill blades are better than they were in the 60's, it's just harder to find them these days.

As far as nicks and weepers go, that's technique, and I'm sure there are as many poor shavers out there today. Those swivel multiblade things do actually reduce the blood since they are difficult to apply excessive pressure with. They are also not as sharp and give poor shaves in my opinion, but it's much more difficult to cut yourself with one.
 
Just because we have better technology and better "ingredients", doesn't mean that everything made today is better. Companies make changes all the time that will cut them corners to save money, if they feel that there will be little perceived impact on the consumer.

Not blades related but have you used modern Williams Mug Soap and compared it to the vintage formula? In the modern formula, they reduced the amount of Tallow in it to save money, and it is now a vastly inferior product (compared to the original). The same goes for blade manufacturing. Where is the motivation to make the best possible blade, and get that last 10% of performance if they can cut a few corners and make it cheaper, and still sell it for the same price? It's all profit driven. Especially when you consider that DE blades are a very small portion of the market (very small!). The competition exists to make the best cart, but not the best DE.

As mentioned above, There is absolutely no motivation for anyone to make a blade as good, today, at the Personna 74, because it will outlast just about everything out there, and the company in turn will sell less of them and make less money. In todays market that just doesn't make sense.
 
I feel no need to buy vintage blades. I find that there are many superb blades, (GSB, Polsilver, the Russian-made 7 O'clocks, the German-made Wilkinson Swords, Personna Red IPs, Perma-Sharps, and more) that are currently in production. I realize we have lost some great blades to the ages, but there are plenty of excellent ones out there and readily available. Vintage razors, with their superb craftsmanship and history may be another story...
 
I have a couple of decades-old blades that I might have to try. I'm a user, not a collector, so I won't shed a tear opening them up and shaving.
 
I will say this - from what a number of people have posted, the older blades had ONE thing going for them. They were thicker, and thus slightly more rigid. That may be the true defining difference between 'vintage' and 'modern' when it comes to 'how they shaved'.
 

FarmerTan

"Just Call Me Billy"
I will say this - from what a number of people have posted, the older blades had ONE thing going for them. They were thicker, and thus slightly more rigid. That may be the true defining difference between 'vintage' and 'modern' when it comes to 'how they shaved'.
+1.
 
I just used a Gillette Spoiler for the first time recently. I got a good deal on them and the lot include 3 or 4 Personna 74s. I can report that Spoilers are great blades -- very sharp and long lasting. I finished shave #10 on it this morning -- I won't go much further. So, I would pay 2 times more than my modern favorites, but not much more. There was a little PITA having to spray the dispenser with WD-40 to separate the blades.
 
When You See old photo's and hear stories about Grandpa and Your "Old Man "
They always have toilet paper stuck on their faces after a shave
I always thought that it had to do with the blades of yesteryear .
I started shaving in the 70s and don't recall supper blades.

That was me for years on end in my early shaving career, with whatever two blade cartridge razor was top of the line then.

I have ingrained in my memory one particularly bad shave from the 80's or early 90's when I had at least 6 pieces of toilet paper on my face at one time :eek2:
 
I just used a Gillette Spoiler for the first time recently. I got a good deal on them and the lot include 3 or 4 Personna 74s. I can report that Spoilers are great blades -- very sharp and long lasting. I finished shave #10 on it this morning -- I won't go much further. So, I would pay 2 times more than my modern favorites, but not much more. There was a little PITA having to spray the dispenser with WD-40 to separate the blades.

Almost any blade will go 10 shaves, keep shaving till you need to change the blade.
 
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