Manufacturer: Stahly, Inc.
Dates in Production: 1941-1978
The Stahly "Live Blade" or "Stroke Saver" razor was invented by P.G. Stahly of South Bend, Indiana. Stahly, Inc. was located at 406 Columbia Street, South Bend, Indiana until ca. 1954, by which time the company was a division of Geuder, Paeschke & Frey Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company ceased operations in 1978. First use of the Live Blade trademark was in 1942, but the trademark was not applied for until 1964.
The Stahly was among the first DE razors to vibrate the head, reducing the blade's tendency to catch on dry spots, and skin irregularities. The idea (then as now) was to reduce irritation and provide a smoother shave. The bottom of the razor contained a watch-type torsion spring that the user wound up immediately prior to shaving. The spring powered a small eccentric crankshaft that caused the head to vibrate. It would vibrate for about three minutes between windings at about 3000 oscillations ("sliding side-strokes") per minute (a 1954 advertisement claims 6,000 vibrations per minute, though it may be that instead of counting a single oscillation, advertising copywriters counted each movement of the head).
Several models were marketed from 1946 until the 1970s, differing mostly in case and finish. Later(?) models of the razor were available in a presentation case (seen below). A clear plastic upright box case was also available by 1947. A wood-type upright case is shown in early (1946) advertisements. Original models were chrome, gold plate, or black with gold plated accents. Later(?) models were also available in a brown bullet-shaped leatherette presentation case. Late models were also made from aluminum. There were women's models that are pink and chrome (the pink is a special surface painted on the handle).
All models take standard (modern) DE blades. The internal mechanical components create an odd balance to the razor; the head feels very light compared to the base, which is much heavier. Therefore, the razor is balanced essentially opposite to a standard DE razor. Because most of the weight is in the palm, the user may elect to grip the razor differently.
The razor was apparently known as the "Stroke Saver with Live-Blade action" from about 1941-56, then renamed the Live Blade for the rest of its production life.
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- ^ a bEsquire, vol. 16, p. 225 (advertisement)
- ^Mulrooney, Tess. The Mulrooneys of Grant County, Wisconsin: Thomas, John, James and Mary, John and Darby and their children through great-grandchildren. 2008
- ^LIFE, 1954-06-07, p184.
- ^United States Congressional serial set, vol. 11892 (1956)
- ^Hardware Age, vol. 178, iss. 1-2