I recently picked up my second vintage razor, a Valet Open Comb Single Edge Safety Razor. This was strictly a curiosity purchase, the idea of owning something that was over a hundred years old was appealing, plus I couldn’t go wrong with the price – winning bid was $2.00 – shipping cost me more. It is unlikely that this razor will make my regular rotation, to be honest I’m not even sure how well modern single edge blades will work in the Valet, but it is still interesting to take a look at a piece of shaving history.
For a razor that is over a hundred years old it looks quite good. I’m sure that it has been cleaned up prior to selling but nevertheless it was impressive. The size and feel of the razor is more or less similar to modern razors, with the handle being a bit slim. The design of the cutting head is the aspect that is most foreign to me, with the front portion working on a hinge.
Very different than my double edge razors, probably closest in function to my TTO, where the head and handle of the razor remain attached in order to change the blade (the handle does twist off if needed), however it seems as though changing this blade would be a bit more cumbersome than with a TTO. I came across this manual when doing a Google search for information on the razor – I’m not sure if it is for the exact model that I picked up, but it seems to be the same design.
The handle on the 1912 Vintage is strictly functional, not that it is an ugly design (a simple grid pattern), it just isn’t overly exciting. The diameter of the handle is slightly smaller than that of the Merkur 1904, and the length is somewhere in between the 1904 and my Edwin Jagger 89lbl.
As mentioned earlier the cutting head of the razor is what is most foreign to me. The open comb design, with a door on a hinge and a small lever in the back of the head that locks it down makes it much more intricate than the design of my other razors. The shape of the head makes me feel as though the learning curve would be greater than what I have been use to thus far.
Although I am not nearly as excited about the Valet razor as I was with my first Vintage Razor – The Gillette Travel Tech – I still find it an interesting acquisition that I will hopefully be able to use with modern single edge blades. The one element that I am unsure about is the stropping feature that I believe exists with this razor – at least according to the directions I have found (above). For fear of an onslaught of spam I will open comments on this post in hopes of getting some feedback on how I would go about using the stropping feature.