Superspeed sampler

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With The Grain
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Superspeed sampler

Post by With The Grain » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:22 pm

having got my hands on nearly all of the superspeed razors by now i figured i'd make this post that might help some new guys ID superspeeds and just share and gather some info on them in one place. To make it a bit more simple this is excluding rockets, milords and the ranger tech, which are of course closely related to the superspeed or in the case of the post war milords- merely gold plated versions of them, but there are enough superspeeds without going there to keep this thread plenty busy. Seeing that i mentioned post war milords, it's probably best to mention that pre-war milords are gold versions of the ranger tech or rather the ranger tech is a nickel plated version of the milord, which is the slightly older of the two razors, anyway back to superspeeds...

For starters I am missing 3 versions of the superspeed: one is the 1947 unnotched center bar version, the second is the rare 1954 TV edition and the last is the very rare tan 50's superspeed. Quickly speaking on these razors, the 47 unnotched SS (superspeed) and the 54 TV SS look exactly like any other superspeed model in the year range of 1947 through 1953, the vast majority of 1954 superspeeds have the flared tip common in the model from here until it's end. The tan tip razor is said to be the same as any other non-colored tip superspeed from 1954 to 1958. According to Krumholz's book the superspeed was introduced in 1947 and in early 1948 was given the notch that is used to hook and pull the blade out of dispensers. Date codes are said to have begun with the letter W in 1951, though i know of at least two members here who have found 1950 V stamped superspeeds (ok technically im missing 4). So with the exception of the 54 TV model, the superspeed line got a make over in 1954, getting the flared tip twist to open (tto) end and also introducing the colored tip razors. the colored tip razors were the blue: which was the light exposure and aluminum handle razor that was for guys who had sensitive skin or "those inclined to nicks or irritattion". The other painted tip superspeed offered was the red tip, this model is both thicker and heavier than any other superspeed model, it was said to be for "the man who wants a closer than usual shave... ideal for those who like the heft and feel of a heavier razor". Gillette stopped offering the colored tips in 1958 when the original adjustable was first widely available (nicknamed the fatboy around here), through this year the superspeeds of the 50's with flared tips had two horizontal rings running around the tto knob, starting in either 1959 or 1960 these horizontal rings disappear and only vertical lines are present; this remains true until superspeeds are no longer made. The change over between the models from 58-59 or 60 is imo at it's largest during this time, the flared tip SS with no horizontal rings seems lighter in the hand and it's head profile is significantly more slim than all of it's predecessors. This slim head profile is also true of the black handle superspeed introduced in 1969 and available to the mid 70's, though the black handle model is even lighter than the previous version. Now back tracking to 1958 brings you to the common TV razor, it's very similar to the regular 1958 superspeed with the exception of having no horizontal knurling on the main section of the handle. Back tracking even further to 1951 you'll find the aluminum handle and black plastic tip superspeed, an obvious attempt to cut costs but it couldnt have been overly popular as the next year the black plastic tip was paired to the standard SS handle. Keep in mind that the majority of superspeeds during these two years looked like any other 48-53 superspeed and in 1953 gillette apparently gave up on the black plastic tip. that's about it, pics below. If you want to get more info on other gillettes do be sure to check out Phillip Krumholz's book, "the complete gillette collectors guide", he's on ebay as seller razorman2 i believe, also ask questions on the forum a good amount of the above came strictly from other members here.

from L to R- 40's no date, 51 aluminum handle and black plastic tip, 52 reg handle and black plastic tip, 52, blue tip (light), regular mid-late 50's, red tip (heavy), 58 TV, 60's, 70's
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same pic with no flash in case the above was to blury
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same razors cut into two rows
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maybe some of the members can add pics of the V date stamped SS, a SS without the notched center bar, the 54 TV and the rare tan one to complete things. if i made any mistakes, it's late :) but do let me know

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Gatorade
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Post by Gatorade » Sun Dec 17, 2006 9:45 pm

Very nice post. You are ready to write the chapter on the SS that is for sure. Here are a couple pics of your elusive 54' TV, and if you look on the right in the last pic there is your "regular" or "tan" tip as well.

Image

Image

Image
--Charlie
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With The Grain
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Post by With The Grain » Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:01 pm

Gatorade wrote:Very nice post. You are ready to write the chapter on the SS that is for sure. Here are a couple pics of your elusive 54' TV, and if you look on the right in the last pic there is your "regular" or "tan" tip as well.
thanks for adding that Charlie, you're the only one i know that has the 54 TV. In the bottom left of that last pic is a regular 50's superspeed for sure but it's the same as mine above, i think, the very rare "tan" razor is suppossed to be in fact painted tan, im not sure i've ever seen one. I know Brett posted a pic once but it was tough to tell if it was brassing or indeed this rare razor and though Krumholz mentions it in his book he doesnt appear to own one (or your 54 TV btw)

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Post by c white » Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:08 pm

Here is another version where the solid plate on the side of the head of the razor is split into two pieces. I thought this would be an older version but it has the notched center bar, though it doesn't have a datecode.

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I also have a 50s style superspeed with the flared end that doesn't have a date code, but has ''11" inscribed on it. It was made in England My Gillette 58 has this mysterious "11" as well.
-Chris

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With The Grain
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Post by With The Grain » Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:17 pm

Chris the linkage cap has merely fallen off that superspeed, happens fairly often. the second razor you describe sounds like a flared tip rocket to me.

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Post by c white » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:07 am

With The Grain wrote:Chris the linkage cap has merely fallen off that superspeed, happens fairly often. the second razor you describe sounds like a flared tip rocket to me.
Oh, I guess I can stop bidding on them on ebay then :lol: At least that cuts down on the variants out there a bit. It really would have confused me if the linkage cap had only fallen off one side and not the other.

Hopefully I'm not derailing this thread too much if I include pictures of the flared tip Rocket.... I didn't know such an animal existed! I don't have a regular flared tip SS yet so I had nothing to compare it too, I just though that was how they were built, but you're absolutely right, it does operate just like a Rocket.

Image

Image
-Chris

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rustyblade
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Post by rustyblade » Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:33 am

Chris, I had a flared-tip Rocket that I gave to a friend. Like all Rockets, a very solid, good shaving razor.


Charlie, is there any identification on the '54 TV SS that is makes it differ from a regular SS? I seem to have missed the original thread on this razor.
Richard

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Post by Gatorade » Mon Dec 18, 2006 8:19 am

rustyblade wrote:Chris, I had a flared-tip Rocket that I gave to a friend. Like all Rockets, a very solid, good shaving razor.


Charlie, is there any identification on the '54 TV SS that is makes it differ from a regular SS? I seem to have missed the original thread on this razor.
Nice Rocket there Chris. I will have to put that one on my mental to get list.

Rusty- nope. Just a normal 40's style Super Speed. Z3 datecode. Only difference is the plastic case. All that I have heard about in the blue case have been Z3's as well. I have seen 3 for sale on ebay and the pic of the store display below and that is about it for me as well. Just for the record the one in the pics isn't mine but another collectors. Mine is in some stuff I packed for storage and I couldn't get pics of it too easily so I used the pics from a friend. He had that store display completely full of NOS razors but sold one off. I think if I recall correctly it went for over $150. Could have been just over $100 but somewhere in that range.
--Charlie
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ichabod
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Post by ichabod » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:44 am

In terms of aesthetic appeal, for me it's the TV and the blue tip, in that order I think.
Nice post - maybe it should be stickyfied.
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Post by MOSES » Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:09 pm

ichabod wrote:In terms of aesthetic appeal, for me it's the TV and the blue tip, in that order I think.
Nice post - maybe it should be stickyfied.
Interesting. I far prefer the original model, aesthetically. The 58 TV would be second, though, I'd say.....

-Mo
Alrighty, stickim up and hand over the Coates real nice and slow like....

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Post by John 5 » Mon Dec 18, 2006 1:56 pm

MOSES wrote: Interesting. I far prefer the original model, aesthetically. The 58 TV would be second, though, I'd say.....

-Mo
I second Mo’s take. While they all have their merits, I find the original model the most aesthetically pleasant, just clean and functional without superfluous ornamentation. But then again, aesthetic matters are all relative (just set your Tivo to record an episode of MTV’s Pimp My Ride and get ready to cringe).

One question to the experts – aesthetically speaking, my favorite Gillette handle thus far resides on the Fatboy adjustable. But shave wise, the late 40’s Super Speed has been hands down the most pleasant and enjoyable (followed closely by the long black handle Super Adjustable set on a mild setting). Question is, does there exist any Super Speed or related razor which is close to the Fatboy in physical aesthetics, all whilst possessing a head with the geometry and related characteristics inherent on these Super Speeds?

John

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Post by MOSES » Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:18 pm

John 5 wrote:One question to the experts – aesthetically speaking, my favorite Gillette handle thus far resides on the Fatboy adjustable. But shave wise, the late 40’s Super Speed has been hands down the most pleasant and enjoyable (followed closely by the long black handle Super Adjustable set on a mild setting). Question is, does there exist any Super Speed or related razor which is close to the Fatboy in physical aesthetics, all whilst possessing a head with the geometry and related characteristics inherent on these Super Speeds?
John,
I'm not sure it is an exact match on either front, but I think what you need is a president. Or Aristocrat, if you prefer gold finish. Fron the late 40s/early 50s. The post 47 ones with the notched bar should shave pretty close to a SS, I think. And they have a fat handle similar to a Fat Boy.

-Mo
Alrighty, stickim up and hand over the Coates real nice and slow like....

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Post by ichabod » Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:22 pm

MOSES wrote:
John 5 wrote:One question to the experts – aesthetically speaking, my favorite Gillette handle thus far resides on the Fatboy adjustable. But shave wise, the late 40’s Super Speed has been hands down the most pleasant and enjoyable (followed closely by the long black handle Super Adjustable set on a mild setting). Question is, does there exist any Super Speed or related razor which is close to the Fatboy in physical aesthetics, all whilst possessing a head with the geometry and related characteristics inherent on these Super Speeds?
John,
I'm not sure it is an exact match on either front, but I think what you need is a president. Or Aristocrat, if you prefer gold finish. Fron the late 40s/early 50s. The post 47 ones with the notched bar should shave pretty close to a SS, I think. And they have a fat handle similar to a Fat Boy.

-Mo
Mo,

that's what sprung to mind for me also, about as close as you can get to John's requirements. The President is one of my favourites, too.
Give us the luxuries, and we will forgo the necessities.
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Post by MOSES » Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:35 pm

ichabod wrote:that's what sprung to mind for me also, about as close as you can get to John's requirements. The President is one of my favourites, too.
Yeah, I have been periodically kicking myself for letting that totally minty, pricetag and all one go last night for $62. Nobody even really sniped. Well, unless you call $62 up from $56 sniping.

#-o #-o #-o #-o :( :(

-Mo
Alrighty, stickim up and hand over the Coates real nice and slow like....

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With The Grain
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Post by With The Grain » Mon Dec 18, 2006 2:36 pm

ichabod wrote:
MOSES wrote:
John 5 wrote:One question to the experts – aesthetically speaking, my favorite Gillette handle thus far resides on the Fatboy adjustable. But shave wise, the late 40’s Super Speed has been hands down the most pleasant and enjoyable (followed closely by the long black handle Super Adjustable set on a mild setting). Question is, does there exist any Super Speed or related razor which is close to the Fatboy in physical aesthetics, all whilst possessing a head with the geometry and related characteristics inherent on these Super Speeds?
John,
I'm not sure it is an exact match on either front, but I think what you need is a president. Or Aristocrat, if you prefer gold finish. Fron the late 40s/early 50s. The post 47 ones with the notched bar should shave pretty close to a SS, I think. And they have a fat handle similar to a Fat Boy.

-Mo
Mo,

that's what sprung to mind for me also, about as close as you can get to John's requirements. The President is one of my favourites, too.
the president is also one of my favorite shavers and it's probably the answer for the look you'd want but the Double ring rocket might be another consideration for a very similar shave but with added weight and body (you might have to be patient in looking though :( ). In case you dont know what these razors look like i believe there are pics of all of them in the pinned "collectors corner" thread.

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Post by Pauldog » Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:21 am

I think the TV razor was only made in 1958, and the pattern on the handle is different from the other Super Speeds of that generation with the flared twist knob.

Here is where it says that the '58 is the only one:
http://www.geocities.com/safetyrazors/gil_ser2.htm

If that's true, though, it means that the stack of 1954 razors in the photo wasn't the original set of razors mounted on that display. Does the display card have any indication of date?

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Post by MOSES » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:18 am

Pauldog wrote:I think the TV razor was only made in 1958, and the pattern on the handle is different from the other Super Speeds of that generation with the flared twist knob.

Here is where it says that the '58 is the only one:
http://www.geocities.com/safetyrazors/gil_ser2.htm

If that's true, though, it means that the stack of 1954 razors in the photo wasn't the original set of razors mounted on that display. Does the display card have any indication of date?
The geocities site is a very useful resource. I do not think we can simply assume that it is always right though. Another example is the guard slots on the Tech. This site says that they switched from triangular to parralel in 1952. Which would make it odd that there seem to be quite a few Techs out there with parralel slots, but no date code (no examples to point to at the moment, but I've definitely seen this). It is true that the 58 TV was special in that the razor itself was different. But it is not unlike Gillette to use special packaging on the same razor.

I think it very unlikely that the wrong razors were on that display. If it was from the 58 TV, then it would have been four years after that model was last available, making it seem very unlikely that there would have been a huge stack of them in a store, along with the other huge stack of the standard packaging in the red boxes just to the right. Plus, look closely at the graphics on the display. That's no 58 razor pictured. Sure, it is just a drawing. But the barrel is smooth, not ridged. Also, the neck is curved, not the straight taper in that the later model has. I'd put money on it that this thing is for real.

-Mo

PS - where did that picture come from?
Alrighty, stickim up and hand over the Coates real nice and slow like....

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Post by Gatorade » Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:44 am

Pauldog wrote:I think the TV razor was only made in 1958, and the pattern on the handle is different from the other Super Speeds of that generation with the flared twist knob.

Here is where it says that the '58 is the only one:
http://www.geocities.com/safetyrazors/gil_ser2.htm

If that's true, though, it means that the stack of 1954 razors in the photo wasn't the original set of razors mounted on that display. Does the display card have any indication of date?
Pauldog, the Krumholtz mentions the 54' TV as well. I don't have the refrence page off hand but also the pic came from another collector who I email with from time to time. He got the whole display complete and the razors are deffinatly the 40's SS style. The blue case says TV at the point on the front just like the red ones. Also there are scans of the instructions that came in the pack that are the 40's SS instructions.
--Charlie
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Post by Cigar Dan » Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:32 am

MOSES wrote:Yeah, I have been periodically kicking myself for letting that totally minty, pricetag and all one go last night for $62. Nobody even really sniped. Well, unless you call $62 up from $56 sniping.
When the price was down in the $26 range, I set a snipe at $42. Since I already have a NOS President, I didn't make a strong play for it. However, I'm always looking to get a great razor on the cheap. :)
Danny

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Post by With The Grain » Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:07 am

Pauldog wrote:I think the TV razor was only made in 1958, and the pattern on the handle is different from the other Super Speeds of that generation with the flared twist knob.

Here is where it says that the '58 is the only one:
http://www.geocities.com/safetyrazors/gil_ser2.htm

If that's true, though, it means that the stack of 1954 razors in the photo wasn't the original set of razors mounted on that display. Does the display card have any indication of date?
As others have said even the Krumholz mentions the 54 TV and that geocities site, while being helpful, is missing FAR more models than they bother to mention and there are of course a few mistakes beyond the incompletion as well. The proof really just lies in the pudding imo, that being a 47-53 style superspeed having the Z (1954) date code, which shouldnt exist right... One would guess that after introducing the new flared tip version of the superspeed Gillette probably just thought it was a creative way to move the remaining stock of handles. Unlike the 58 TV model, this one is proving to be pretty rare.

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