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Signature Single Rings

Signature Single Ring

Image of a "Signature" Single Ring owned by B&B Member Intrigued

Sometime in 1908, according to Robert Waits' A Safety Razor Compendium, "a few" Single Rings were produced by Gillette bearing the signature of King C. Gillette under the head and under the cap. It is not known how many were produced or the reasons and conditions for doing so but they all appear to have been produced in 1908. The late Don Beehler once referenced a Gillette document that mentions that "a few" of these special razors were produced but the exact contents of that document are presently unknown. While the current market value of these razors is not known, it is interesting to note that the 1995 reference guide "Safety Razor Price Guide" lists the 'signature' Single Ring at "$75 and up". Although these "signature" razors do have a serial number, they do not bear the diamond trademark nor are they stamped "Made in U.S.A". It is presumed that there are more still in existence but undiscovered. It is interesting to note, that, so far, no other model of razor produced by Gillette bears this stamp. The following table lists all presently known "Signature" Single Rings.

In September of 2012, B&B member Mark1966 acquired an anomalous Signature Single Ring. The handle portion bears the siganture of KCG on the base plate but is stamped "Pat. No. 28.763 of 02" which appears to be a British patent number. The existence of this razor presents new questions as to the purpose, number and distribution of the Signature Single Ring series.

Signature Single Ring Database

Serial NumberOwnerLinkNotes
B&B Member Sandcounty
thread link
A394640B&B Member Robert-13
Show in Waits' Safety Razor Compendium
A393541B&B Member Mark1966thread linkBritish version of the Signature Single Ring. Signature is only on the base plate, not on the cap piece. Handle is stamped "Pat. No. 28.763 of 02"
A388088B&B Member IronHammerthread linkFound in Standard Set (script logo) case
Confirmed eBay sighting on Aug 27, 2011. Confirmed by IronHammer
A386011B&B Member Highballthread link
A378554Private Collector
Source: Robert Waits
A377857B&B Member Intriguedthread linkFound in a Standard Set 460B case
A375582B&B Member Highballpost linkNote: Strangely, only the cap plate bears the signature, not the base plate.
A389184B&B Member HersheyPost LinkBase plate signature only. Found in Standard Set (No. 460) case w/ script logo and plain "Gillette" cardboard blade sleeves.
A400433B&B Member Rick2035post linkSignature is only on the base plate, not on the cap plate.
A403414B&B Member Highballthread linkNote: has the marking on just the underside of the head
A372534B&B Member Mark1966post linkNote: Owner has the cap piece and knob portion but, curiously, also owns a signed handle stamped with English patent numbers!
A406334B&B Member
postNote: Only the cap bears the signature stamp.
A428124B&B Member 72plymsatellitepostTop cap signature only.
A383203B&B Member SP3CtRUMpost
A374743B&B Member GryffindorpostDouble signed: Baseplate and Top Cap
B&B Member Gryffindor
Single singed: Baseplate only
B&B Member Gryffindor
Double signed: Baseplate and Top Cap
A398534B&B Member Buick48postTop cap is monogramed with "H.N." which is believed to be the first found like this

Non-Signature 1908 Single Rings

One area of study is trying to determine if these razors were produced in a single batch of contiguous serial numbers (Contiguous Batch Theory) or if they were randomly selected from the 1908 production line to be specially stamped with the signature of King C. Gillette (Random Batch Theory). If the Contiguous Batch Theory was true, then the number of signature Single Rings produced would be more than 25,000. Finding a Single Ring that is missing the signature but whose serial number also falls within the earliest and latest "Signature" Single Ring would disprove the Contiguous Block Theory, which means that the number of signature single rings made could be much smaller and certainly unknowable without documentation. On May 16, 2011 a 1908 Single Ring without the signature mark but bearing the serial number A400595 (earlier than Sandcounty's and later than Intrigued's) has been confirmed and is owned by Roy Johnson. This appears to prove that the Signature razors were indeed randomly selected from the production line to be specially stamped and handled.

A by-product of this research may also help in identifying the first appearance of the diamond trademark, which also appeared in 1908. The following table lists confirmed 1908 Single Rings that do not bear the King C. Gillette signature.

Non-signature 1908 Single Ring Database
Serial NumberOwnerHead MarkingsNotes
A682419B&B Member Mark1966No marks
A656904B&B Member Rick1962No marks
A497830Ebay SightingNo Marksspotted and confirmed by IronHammer
A413281Ebay SightingNo marksNote: Thanks to Mark1966 for spotting this one.
A409518B&B Member nonicksNo marksthread link
A400595Roy JohnsonNo marksSeems to disprove the "Contiguous Batch Theory"
A353450B&B Member sucuriNo marksthread link
A325323B&B Member SlivovitzNo marksthread link
A298738eBay listingNo marks
A272610B&B Member mr-razorNo marksimage link
A262398Ebay SightingNo marksPictures included with the listing clearly shows no signature on the razor base plate or the cap piece.
A330217B&B Member wscottb7862No marksimage link
A585921eBay sightingNo marksspotted by Mark1966

Possible Reasons for using the signature

Some have suggested that the signature was used as a way to trademark the razors before the official diamond trademark had been established. This theory reasons that the stamp was quickly abandoned in favor of the preferred diamond trademark.

Another theory put forth suggests that some razors were selected to be stamped with the signature instead of the normal trademark so they could be used in gift/presentation sets.

Another theory submitted by B&B User Mako72 proposes that Gillette may have used the "signature" Single Rings as a kind of promotion in the style of Willy Wonka's "Golden Ticket" promotion. In this theory, if a consumer purchased a Single Ring Set that turned out to have the signature stamp, they would win a prize from the Gillette Company.
Signature King Gillette 1908 Single Ring, How Rare / Common Is It? This thread is an ongoing discussion of the nature and origins of the "Signature" Single Ring

Additional discussion pertaining to this topic is available in this thread.

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