I still have and use my Dad’s late 1950’s Gillette Red-tip Superspeed, made, according to the date code of B3, in the third quarter of 1956. This is the same razor which I used for my first shave in 1967 at age 14. Unbeknownst to me, it still carried the original blue blade my Dad had used prior to his death from heart-attack in 1961 at age 46, and which my mother had in the interim, used to shave her legs!
On the one hand, it was rather miraculous that it could still shave anything. On the other hand, it tore up my virginal face like the chainsaw in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, leaving me bloodied and covered in little bits of toilet paper to stem the flow.
I quickly graduated to newer and more modern razors, but kept my Dad’s razor for sentimental purposes. When I got into gourmet shaving a few years ago, I tried shaving with it again (with a new blade), but found it too aggressive (the Red-tip had the most blade exposure). It was also pretty beat up by then, largely from my efforts to clean it with various caustic agents that stripped the paint off the red tip and generally dulled the finish.
But I am a sentimentalist. The possessions I prize the most relate to things that connect me with significant others in my past….my Dad’s 1948 Parker ’51, my watch, my Dad’s silver cufflinks, stuff my kids made in elementary school, etc. So when I heard that the Razor Emporium did ground-up restorations of vintage razors, I was in in a flash.
After several weeks, my restored 1956 Gillette Red-tip Superspeed was back in my hands, nickle-clad like the original. It looks every bit as good, if not better, than the day it must have come out of the box. Even the paint on the red tip is exactly the shade I remember on the original. What a fantastic job…Huge Kudos to Razor Emporium, I’ll be sending in a few more for restoration. Cost: About $60.
I’m going to shave with it today. I’ll have the toilet paper and styptic pencil standing by.