When it comes to talking about single-edges safety razors, one of the stalwarts that needs to be mentioned is the American Safety Razor Company. According to Wikipedia they were the largest manufacturers at the beginning of the safety razor era. They were especially known for their “Ever-Ready” series.
These razors may not be available anymore – except in antique stores – but the company sure has an illustrious past and we’ll just take a look into that before briefly going into what were some of the razors that they were best known for. Why? So you know what to look for when you are building up your vintage razor collection!
The company was formed in the 1906 or thereabouts. It was basically a merger between the then well-known Gem Safety Razor Co. and another brand called Ever-Ready. What is truly remarkable about this merged brand was that for almost a century they were the one of the major competitors that Gillette had in the safety razor market. Today their products are usually found under the Personna brand label.
Though not American Safety Razor Company, but Gem Safety Razor Company was formed by an employee of the Kamfe brothers who had been the pioneers of safety razors in the market. Before the merger happened, Gem’s founder Jerry Richards had already started making innovations that made his product better than the Kamfe’s brothers’ prototype.
And therefore we had the razors manufactured by the ASR Co.
We are featuring three of their razors today:
The GEM 1912 was a model produced while still under the GEM trade name. The year of production is clear. Like all ASR razors, it is a single edges razor so as you can see the case has one hinge for opening.
The handle was detachable to be screwed on to use. There was also a junior version of this razor having a shorter handle. However, the junior version had a black plastic handle and a gold plated top.
Next we feature the Jewel razor, pictured here in its box.
The Jewel was manufactured and sold in the 1950s. The design is reminiscent of the Ever-Ready style. Again this one was a single edged razor.
The entire razor was steel with chrome plating. In terms of workmanship, these were impeccable and they gave a real close shave.
But at the same time, these were quite heavy to handle while shaving.
While made by the ASR, these were made in Britain and even sold under the “British Made” label.
These are another good razor to look out for.
And finally we have this – it was one of the last manufactured by the ASR. This is the Contour II razor. However, owing to Gillette having a razor known as the ‘Contour’ in the market already, this one was marketed under the name of Atra.
The handle you see is metal-plastic or totally plastic, and is also a single-edged blade razor. Its hinges open to fit in the blade.
They fit SE blades like all ASR razors.
This is one of the more recent ASR razors that you may find in antique shops – but even then it is vintage!
The American Safety Razor Company may not be selling under their name anymore, but they sure made razors that keep their reputation stellar. Besides, even now, under the Personna
label you can still get ASR made blades. And they are still is very much made in the United States. Looking for a good blade for shaving or other uses, you can still trust in ASR – they will surely deliver!