Valet AutoStrop with Gillette Markings?

Discussion in 'Single Edged Razors' started by Blue-EyedSon, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. I picked up this AutoStrop razor and I don't know much about them. I noticed that this one has "Gillette Safety Razor Co" engraved on the backside of the head. I tried looking in Krumholz and was only able to find information on a Gillette - AutoStrop merger. So, I'm guessing this a later model, but is there anything special or rare about it? Pictures are below.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Yes, Brian, you are correct. That is one that was produced after the "merger" . . . I've only seen pictures, never had one in the flesh!
     
  3. The companies merged in 1930 or so after litigation over patents. Valet was a Gillette product after that. On a side note, the inventor and owner of the auto strop line, Henry Gaisman, joined Gillette after the merger and eventually was running the company after King Gillette died in 1932. Gaisman was an interesting guy:

    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Henry_Jacques_Gaisman
     
  4. And what blades this one uses?
     
  5. Yeah, November 1930, Gillette got Autostrop.

    [​IMG]

    You've got a nice razor - these brass ones really respond to a good polish. The case is for a VC1, though. The razor you have is a VC3.
     
  6. I'd like some advice on this as well. I've had a VAS for a few years but never got around to buying blades.
     
  7. There is an interesting story behind the "merger." While Henry J. Gaisman never got the publicity of King Camp Gillette, he (and his Auto-Strop company) was a major player in the development of safety razors, actually getting his first razor patent in 1904 a few months ahead of Gillette.

    Gillette came out with the "NEW" razor in 1930 primarily as a vehicle for NEW blade - the older 3 hole blades would not fit, so Gillette could recapture the market from compatible blade manufacturers.

    Problem was, Henry Gaisman's Probak blade was virtually identical to the NEW blade, and he held a patent that pre-dated Gillette's.

    Rather than face a lengthy court battle, it was agreed that Gillette would buy out Auto-Strop - for roughly twice what it was worth. In addition, Henry J. Gaisman would become the chairman of the board for Gillette.

    With Gaisman at the helm, Auto-Strop became the "Auto-Strop Division, Gillette Safety Razor Co." and continued to produce the Auto-Strop for another 10 years or so.

    At one time Feather made a copy of the Auto-Strop razor, and as a result you can buy Feather stainless steel blades that will fit nearly all Auto-Strops. (This is the same Feather blade used in the OneBlade razor.) Early Auto-Strops can also take a modified Gem blade. Early models (VB!, VC1 and pre-Valet) have the blade held in by a spring clip. Later models have a door hinged at the side (VB2, VC2), or clips on the sides of the blade (VC3, VC4) and can only take the Feather blade or NOS blades.

    It is still possible to find NOS blades in shaveable condition, and of course they will fit all Auto-Strops. These blades are very much designed to be stropped, and this should be done before the first shave.

    Auto-Strops are fascinating razors and can often be found dirt-cheap on the auction site. They are great shavers. Like a lot of razor lines, the earlier models are more aggressive than the later ones.

    --Bob
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015

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