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Thin Cap Gillette Old Type - most technically correct design ever?

Putting aside user technique, and personal preferences, which can ultimately be adjusted to match a razors geometry/weight/balance/etc, is there another double edge safety razor design that can compare with the minimalistic and simplistic design theory of the thin cap Gillette Old Type with regards to all of the following?

Smoothness: Blade being rigidly clamped between the cap and base plate along its entire length, as close to the blade cutting edge as possible, which minimises blade flex and allows for shaving in all grain directions with equal ease.

Efficiency: Sufficient blade exposure to easily, and without clogging, remove a number of days beard growth, without being excessively aggressive to the point of frequent blood loss involving anything less than perfect shaving form.

Manoeuvrability: The thinnest cap and base plate combination possible, which provides the easiest of access to all of the trickiest areas that have to be dealt with.

Many razors, past and present, may be able to match, or better, the thin cap Gillette Old Type in some of these areas, but can any of them do it all?

It’s only natural, and understandable, that razor companies over the years have produced designs to meet the differing personal preferences of the shaving public. But the thin cap Gillette Old Type design seems to have fallen completely off the table. Is there no room left, or interest in, possibly the “purest” of all of the double edge safety razor designs, which admittedly might require more user adjustment, but offers great versatility once mastered? The safest straight razor ever made, or is that pure hyperbole? Does anyone currently make a true representation of it?

I know that many may disagree with some of the analysis here, as I’ve read that some find this design harsh, and aggressive. But I’m speaking purely objectively about the technical aspects of the design, and the performance that should result from these.
 
Harsh and aggressive Old types are most likely damaged, mint ones are baby smooth with modern blades. Couldn't try them with the original ones, but those are very rigid, so have more gap.
A major design flaw of the thin cap was the thin material (who would guess), this was even acknowledged by Gillette with the service campaigns and the introduction of the thick cap variant and then the New improved.
Imho Rotbarts are better, these have slightly thicker head, just between the thin and thick cap Old type.
 
I recently got a Rolls razor in excellent shape with all the paperwork. The blade appears nicely sharpened, but it needs some honing and stropping, of course, how much I do not know. Have you ever seen how long the instructions are? And the two-hour videos on YT? Someone said you need to strop it after warming the blade in hot water. I probably need stropping liquid restorer. And once I get it sharpened, then you need to do it again. And again.

I can better appreciate now how King Gillette got his inspiration for pre-sharpened disposable blades. Of course, Mr. Nickerson did most of the engineering.

The first time I tried an Old Type I found it very intuitive and easy to use, provided I avoided too much pressure. I've since looked at the instructions that came with the first razors. They recommend holding the razor at a slant, and holding the handle by the back end. But folks back then who were familiar with straight razors probably caught on real fast.

The catch is that some of the vintage Old Type razors may have some damage that make them shave bad, and some modern shavers used to cartridges may be doing it wrong. Apparently, some Old Types in the 1920s had a bit of a gap in the middle that made them more aggressive. So I am becoming more sympathetic to those who say they don't like them. The New Type long and short combs are easier to use comfortably, but I don't think they shave as close, though I need to use them more.

Yes, the Old Type design is pretty close to perfect. But if you use a mediocre blade and press too much, it is not so perfect. There are Old Type lookalikes all over the place, from name brand lines, Italian Barber, Yaqi, most made of zamak, some of stainless steel. From what I've read, they are all milder than the original, which is not all bad.

Why did razors change? First, the Gillette patent expired. Also, they were somewhat expensive to make, closed combs are cheaper, and the teeth could get bent.

Is it the perfect razor? Close. But there are other open comb designs that work well, too. And there are some very nice closed comb razors that give a fast, close shave easily, if you know where to look.

I suspect if more people would try the original Old Type or the new copies they would find them better than their current razors. This is because there are a lot of mediocre modern razors. And they are far better than any vintage TTO Gillette I have used.

But most people won't try them because they look scary, with their tiny teeth and exposed blade. Heck, most people won't try a DE razor because they are terrified of handling any blade that is not entombed in a plastic shell. The history of Gillette is of making new generations of razors that promise to reduce the risk of cutting yourself, and that make the older razors look terrifying. We have become a nation of chickens.

However, open comb razors, or even DE razors, are not the best for some skin, face, whisker types, so I shouldn't judge.

There are those elsewhere on this site who advocate using GEM blades because they are sharper and more rigid. If you can find them. It ain't the 1930s anymore. Yes, they are very nice, when you can get everything to work right. But a DE razor with a very good blade works about as well, if not better - fast, sharp, close, smooth. What more do you want?

That said, the flat, single blade concept is sound. The BIC Sensitive single blade disposable provides a shave surprisingly similar to an Old Type with a great blade. It is a sort of update on the Wilkinson bonded blade idea, with the blade firmly ensconced between two little pieces of plastic (unlike the suspended multiblade cartridges). I wouldn't mind seeing single blade cartridges along this line. But it's might hard to gain ground in the DE turf.

So the Old Type might not be the perfect razor. But the search for a perfect razor has no end. The Old Type is close enough for my daily shaving purposes.
 
The Old Type is close to perfect. And so are the Improved, the New, the SuperSpeed, the 195, the Slim and the Black Beauty. The Tech IS perfect. Gillette knew what they were doing.
Perfect for most who prefer safety and reliability over ultimate closeness. I don't think it improved on the New Short Comb myself.

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I have two of the more obvious lookalikes (Yaqi and Merkur 1906), but these are both a lot less efficient, and not near as good at reducing multiple days growth in one hit with their reduced blade exposure. Are all other such modern replicas similarly tamed?
 
I have two of the more obvious lookalikes (Yaqi and Merkur 1906), but these are both a lot less efficient, and not near as good at reducing multiple days growth in one hit with their reduced blade exposure. Are all other such modern replicas similarly tamed?
No. See Fatip.

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No. See Fatip.

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[/QUOTE

Yes.

Although by all accounts the Fatip open combs are a little more aggressive than the thin cap Gillette Old Types, and the head geometry not as petite.

I’m usually a Gillette Tech/Rocket/Superspeed user, so I favour the milder side of the razor spectrum. But so far the shaves I’ve had with the Old have not shed a drop of blood, or resulted in any irritation. Admittedly I’ve been using a light touch, and been erring on the side of caution angle-wise. Even then the first pass is almost good enough to not bother doing anything more than touching up the areas I happen to have missed. I suspect the Old may not be very blade sensitive either, given its geometry and the resultant blade exposure/rigidity.

It seems to me that the design is the ultimate in minimalism. Nothing more than is actually required to hold the razor blade as rigidly as possible, in a position that allows the user to access the blades edge as they choose to.

I’m sold on this design.
 
No argumenta from me. I have many Old Type derivatives, Leresche, Wardonia, Phillite, Cooper-Sweedo etc and they're all good. Only less favored are the Henso and Merkur which are just too mild.

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Very near.

If only they'd made the Old type configuration with the perfect blade alignment of the New's and Tech's, that would be very difficult to beat (FWIW, using a Fatip cap on an Old type baseplate basically eliminated the alignment "fiddle" necessary with both razors in their standard form - but the Fatip cap is thicker, like an Old thick cap, so it's a touch milder).

The New SC is probably the best design Gillette came up with - it's near enough a tie as makes no difference for smoothness, blade rigidity and efficiency (your criteria) without the blade alignment fiddle necessary with an Old type.
Other New types (especially the RFB and flat bottom) come in pretty even with the OT too, and the Tech's aren't far off either (though a fraction less efficient).
 
I suspect if more people would try the original Old Type or the new copies they would find them better than their current razors. This is because there are a lot of mediocre modern razors. And they are far better than any vintage TTO Gillette I have used.
Your post MADE me dig out my Old Type (which I haven't used for over two years!) Here's my SOTD report:


SOTD
GOT-GT-Y_2021-06-28.jpg
:001_wub:

Brush: Semogue Torga-C3 Finest Mistura 22/49
Soap: TFS Mandarino Tachibana
Razor: Gillette Old Type GT Special [1920s Old Type head on 2020s GT handle by @Rosseforp]
Blade: Personna Red (8)
ASL: Chocolate Orange [home brew]

A fine shave. :biggrin:

After reading a new Old Type thread yesterday, I decided to disturb my 1920s Old Type from its two year plus rest and try my new GT handle on it. Wonderful.

I've been investing in a few Fragrance Oils to jazz up my ASL experiences recently. Today's new-kid-on-the-block is a Chocolate Orange splash which went really well with the Mandarin Orange soap. Two hours later it's still hanging in there, albeit faintly, and the scent is fabulous.


Happy shaves guys. :cornut:


My current all time favorite razor is the RazoRock Lupo 95 (beating my Wolfman and Timeless). But for me personally it only has two small advantages over my 1920s Old Type:
  1. It's easier to work with on my chin area, and
  2. there's no fiddling to get the blade in precise position.
All in all the Old Type is a fine razor, and I'm very glad to own one. :cornut:
 
Yea the thin cap old type gives me the closest and comfortable head shave.i recently got a 1930 lc new and I'm loving the shaves i get with it..it's not near as close as the thin cap.the thin cap and a feather blade on it's 2nd shave,are best shaves I've had
 
Well, I've CAD modelled an exact replica, measured off my sample to two decimal places via digital calipers. Now we just need someone to start making them again. Any takers, just let me know and you can have the CAD model for free.

View attachment 1290349
View attachment 1290350

What did you use? A laser scanner? Lidar?

Cal's Old Type with new handle looks very fine!

I often use mine with a new handle: all of a sudden the design looks remarkably modern. Of course, having one in mint condition, the nickel being the easier option, helps.

It is interesting seeing variations of this design showing up under various labels. But then men are back to shaving only on dates that are prime numbers, like in the pre-First World War days. So they benefit more from an open comb.

BTW, I like the wiggle room on the Old Type, and usually make one side more aggressive than the other. But for those who are squeamish about aligning blades, if anyone makes a 21st century version, perhaps they should use the New Type alignment system. Oops. That probably wouldn't work because the parts are not thick enough. That might explain why the New Type is so much thicker. But I perhaps they could still use corner tabs for alignment. Oh, forget it. Just leave well enough alone.
 
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Thin Cap Old Type-Perfector/BIc. French Perfector plate was marketed to increase efficiency of the Old Types. Stock head did a great job, swapping plate to Perfector for clean up pass on my head did the job at some sacrifice in smoothness. Extremely close shave overall.
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What did you use? A laser scanner? Lidar?

Cal's Old Type with new handle looks very fine!

I often use mine with a new handle: all of a sudden the design looks remarkably modern. Of course, having one in mint condition, the nickel being the easier option, helps.

It is interesting seeing variations of this design showing up under various labels. But then men are back to shaving only on dates that are prime numbers, like in the pre-First World War days. So they benefit more from an open comb.

BTW, I like the wiggle room on the Old Type, and usually make one side more aggressive than the other. But for those who are squeamish about aligning blades, if anyone makes a 21st century version, perhaps they should use the New Type alignment system. Oops. That probably wouldn't work because the parts are not thick enough. That might explain why the New Type is so much thicker. But I perhaps they could still use corner tabs for alignment. Oh, forget it. Just leave well enough alone.

A digital set of measurement calipers provided enough detail to get it right.

There's no reason you couldn't add add the blade alignment rib and channel from the New Type to the zero blade gap Old Type design. It would only make the head thicker along the centreline. The "point of entry" edge thickness could remain unchanged I think.
 
GILLETTE NEW OLD TYPE 1.jpg

There would be a number of different ways to implement the alignment rib design into the Old Type, depending upon manufacturing methodology/operations. Here's the simplest, design wise. Adding corner alignment taps would probably require extra operations on the base plate and cap, depending on the manufacturing method.
 
But for those who are squeamish about aligning blades, if anyone makes a 21st century version, perhaps they should use the New Type alignment system. Oops. That probably wouldn't work because the parts are not thick enough. That might explain why the New Type is so much thicker.

Shouldn't be that difficult, and a little extra thickness centrally on the underside of the baseplate should be a non-issue.

Or in simpler terms, just make it an RFB old type - with the raised section as deep as it needs to be for the channel.
 
I would definitely buy that razor... There are a number of companies doing 3d printing even in stainless steel.

How about sending the CAD design to one of these companies?
 
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