This page documents what we know about Gillette Canada safety razor serial numbers and date codes. Razors made in Montreal often left the factory with serial numbers or date codes. During certain periods some or all models were unmarked. In theory any markings can be be used to establish their manufacturing dates, but at the present time our knowledge of the Canadian markings is spotty.
One estimate is that the Montreal plant made "no more than a few thousand razors in 1906, and then maybe crossed into the 5-digits in 1907. If we assume that the plant was operating at that same production rate six days a week for the entire year, they'd have been turning out somewhere between 20,000 and 25,000 razors a year."
- Gillette Timeline
- US Gillette Dating Information
Old Type Serial NumbersThe Montreal plant began low-volume production ca. 1906-04-??, increasing through 1907. Early orders included Pocket Edition sets, some of which are still extant. During WWI most or all of the razors produced for European sale were made in Canada.The serial numbers for known Canadian razors are somewhat spotty and even contradictory. It appears that they sometimes used numbers alone and sometimes used "C" or "PC" as prefixes. While this data does not yet allow us to place a given razor in a given production year, we hope that one day it will. To this end we try to classify each razor as closely as possible.
OdditiesWe know of a "C 9325" with add-on diamond logo case. That razor might be early Canadian production, but if so the case is probably an interloper.
There was a report of 807177 as an Old Type Big Fellow, possibly modified, no case: http://badgerandblade.com/vb/showthr...-few-questions. This seems like an anachronism, or it belongs to a different number series ca. 1920.
Then we have BD223866, a Bull Dog with knurling reversed from handle shaft to knob, probably ca. 1918-20.
Later Old Types
After mid-1921 the Boston, USA plant continued to produce the Old Type razors, but without serial numbers. In Canada the Montreal plant probably did the same.
New Improved Serial Numbers
In mid-1921 Gillette introduced the New Improved. In Canada, the Montreal plant restarted its sequence of serial numbers from 1Z and probably continued until the end of the New Improved line in 1929.
Examples up to 96302Z are extant, and numbers under 100,000 probably indicate 1921 or 1922. Production appears to have included the Big Fellow and Tuckaway models. It is not known if Canadian production exceeded 999999Z, or what happened to the serial numbers if it did.
Production Year Serial Numbers Notes 1921 1Z-??? 1922 ??? 1923 ??? 1924 ??? 1925 ??? 1926 ??? 1927 ??? 1928 ??? 1929 ???
NEWsMember Allegrabene posted this Canadian NEW DeLuxe Milady set with the serial number 011139, suggesting that at least the early NEW DeLuxe razors out of Canada were serial numbered, like their American counterparts.
Also, as in American production, Canadian standard NEWs seem not to have been numbered at all.
Techs and TTOs
In 1950 the Boston plant began using a repeating sequence of 25 letters as date codes, starting with V=1950 and omitting Q. After the year-letter was a number for the quarter: 1, 2, 3, or 4. At the moment we do not know if Made in Canada razors followed the same sequence, but it seems probable.