The Evolution Of Parker Razors

Parker Evolves

Parker Safety Razor has evolved significantly over the past few years, having “hit its stride” as a double edge (DE) razor manufacturer and becoming a more important player in the traditional shaving community. I quite like my Parker model 92R–in fact it’s in the top 3 of my razor collection (and I have a lot of DE razors).

90R

My first exposure to Parker razors came soon after starting to make my shaving videos. I wanted to have a long-handled razor to help demonstrate DE razor angle and technique, and the look of the Parker 90R seemed to fit the bill. At the time they were mainly available off eBay from the user “Howard1616.” This turned out to be “Howie Woda,” who now runs a more formal business, “Super Safety Razors” and whose company is the distributer for the Parker Safety Razor products in the Americas and Canada. I asked Howie to give me a run-down on Parker and how his business came about.

Parker Safety Razor was formed in 1973. The company is family owned business, owned by the Grover family in India. I work closely with Mr. Deepak Grover who is one of the company’s principals. Deepak and I formed a partnership when we launched Parker Safety Razors in the U.S. by selling the 90R, 60R and 22R models in 2005. Early in 2006 several of the “early wet shaving” web retailers started carrying our Parker 90R model. The number of retailers that carry our offerings has increased steadily and we view them as our partners, not just customers. Many of the best ideas for product improvements, new products, and service come from our retail partners.

In addition to being close friends, Deepak and I work together on company direction, product design and new products. Hardly a day goes by where we do not correspond on our direction and “what next”. We strive to constantly improve our products, reputation and user experience. We will not bring a product to market that we would not use ourselves (and we personally test every product). We both are very proud of our products, our retailers and the service and products we provide. Over the past few years vast improvements and additions have been made to the Parker Safety Razor product line. Here are some of the highlights:

In 2006 we launched our 3 piece model razors. Our 71R, 89R and 91R are the traditional razors that were launched in 2006 and are still popular today. These razors have undergone continuous improvement with new dyes cast and additional weight added over the past years. Some of the razors are actually 30-40% heavier than they were several years back.

In 2009 we launched our Horn Handle Razors. We have horn razors with genuine horn (not faux horn). The first horn handle razors introduced were our 11R and 12R safety razors. Subsequently we have introduced horn razors that are Mach 3 and Fusion Compatible.

Our Butterfly Razor Head (TTO head) was re-engineered in 2010. The butterfly doors were increased almost 2.5 fold in thickness for additional weight in the front of the razor. The additional thickness also makes for a more durable head. The shaving angle was also changed to deliver a less aggressive and smoother shave. The head took almost one year to design and perfect before it was introduced. Additionally some models were bolstered with thicker brass frames. This increased the weight of the razors and improved the balance. Examples include the Parker 22R, 60R and 90R.

In 2009 we introduced Shaving Brushes to the Parker Safety Razor product line. We launched several brushes with various brush knots and handles. We have added several new models over the past year as well.

In 2009, Shavette/Barber Razors were added to the line. The Parker SR1, SRB, and SRW are used now not only by wet shavers who like a straight edge razor with a replaceable blade, but by many barbers as well. The clip style fastener on these razors has been very well accepted. A “push type” razor insert to hold the blade is something we are currently investigating.

In 2010 Shave Soaps were added to the Parker Line.

In 2011 we introduced the Parker 92R which is a heavyweight TTO razor and the Parker 29L “Unisex Razor”. The 29L was geared for women with its’ long handle, but we’ve found many men have purchased it for their own use too. The TTO head on these razors is the Parker “2010” TTO head.

Over the past couple of years, various travel accessories have been introduced in addition to new razor styles. We now offer a full range of leather cases and travel bags that will protect your razors, brushes (and fingers).

The Parker 3 piece head is currently being re-engineered with a launch expected in 2012. The prototype head is less aggressive than our current 3 piece head. Our initial feedback is that the resulting shave is very smooth and comfortable.

92R

It’s clear that Parker has made some significant investments in the wet shaving arena. Within the past few years I think they have made large strides in not only improving the quality control of their existing razors but also their newer designs and engineering as well.

Have you purchased a Parker product recently? What do you think of it?  Leave a comment below!

Related Post: The Evolution of Parker Demonstrated: the 90R

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Comments

  1. bugeye says

    I would like to try an adjustable TTO if Parker introduce one. Nowadays only merkur has this kind of razr with an affordable price tag, am I right? But merkur future is too future for my taste.

    • mantic59 says

      As far as I know Merkur is the only razor manufacturer making new adjustable razors. And the Merkur Vision is the only “TTO” model adjustable (and I put “TTO” in quotes because it is a very different design than anything else out there).

  2. Mark says

    I have found the Parker 92r to be a wonderful razor as well. It has great balance, is very smooth, and not too aggressive or too mild. I was pleasantly suprised with its overall build quality and the weight of the razor. I also have been using a Parker best badger brush for well over a year now. It is also a world class product at a price that was quite reasonable and I have had no urge to buy anything else.

  3. Robby S. says

    This was a very interesting article!
    I have a Parker shaving brush, which I quite like, but I have never tried one of their razors.
    I had heard mixed things about Parker razor quality, but this article does a great job of describing how their products have evolved and improved over time. I’d really like to try one now!
    I appreciate when companies are so transparent about their efforts to improve both quality and performance. I think it allows the customer to support them with confidence.

  4. Brian Collora says

    I purchased a 99R as my first DE and had a question. The blade sticks out at noticeably different lengths(both visually and shave quality wise) on both sides of the DE. Is this by design or is it a defect of the Razor itself.

    • Howie Woda says

      Hi Brian,

      All TTOs have a tiny bit of tolerance/play so the razor blade can fit over the center bar in the middle of the razor, but it should not be noticable. The most common cause for significant alignment issues on our TTO razors is if the safety bar gets damaged from some sort of high impact. If you inspect the razor, do the 2 safety bars have identical exposure when you view them without a blade in the razor? If the doors close evenly, the issue is most likely a safety bar that has been damaged somehow. In rare situations, we’ve also seen cases where a bad batch of blades is at fault and the blade is uneven (A simple way to test this is to turn the blade over and if the exposure changes on the two sides of razor, it is the blade and not the razor).

      If the issue is indeed a defect, we’ll replace the razor. Just send me an email at SuperSafetyRazors@verizon.net and we will get this straight for you.

      Howie
      Super Safety Razors

      • Larry says

        You are obviously a stand up guy. I just ordered the 99R based on my love of the TTO, LG and Mantic’s reviews, and your comments. If there is a problem I feel you and the Grovers are there to address it!

    • Larry says

      My 99R arrived today. It is well plated. The TTO mechanism functions well. It seats a blade with equal exposure on both sides. It appears to be well made. So far so good. It has similar blade exposure to my EJ89. Tomorrow it will face it’s first test.

  5. says

    My early experience with Parker razors, shortly after they appeared in the US, was not good: for me, the razor seemed of poor quality, both in manufacture and in shaving. But then, as has been pointed out, early Japanese autos introduced in the US had similar quality and performance problems, but the Japanese adopted a program of continuous improvement, based on the writings and direction instruction of Edward Deming (and the article at the link is worth reading) and soon their quality surpassed Detroit’s. I indeed bought a Datsun/Nissan just as they were changing the name, drove it trouble free with the original engine for 235,000 miles, gave it to the local community college for their automotive science program, and bought another Nissan: it was obvious that the program of continuous improvement delivered.

    It sounds as though that Parker has adopted a similar program, and I realize that my early negative experience may be obsolete. I’m getting one of the new Parkers and revisiting the brand.

    Thanks for pointing out that things do change, and one should keep up with the current situation.

  6. says

    I generally speak as I find and I have to say that, although Parker as a brand has suffered from negative reviews in the years gone by due to what was definately poor design as well as engineering, that, in my opinion, has certainly changed over the last decade.
    I feel that in no small way, the company’s willingness to listen to their customers and, in particular, those more experienced and learned within the trade such as their “retail partners” as mention in the piece, has had a major influence on the noticeable improvements to their razors.
    I, for one, take my hat off to them for firstly recognising that improvements had to be made and secondly, for having the humility to listen when others offered their honest advice, because I feel that Parker, as a brand, are now producing some great value, well designed and manufactured DE razors.
    I personally purchased my Parker 71R a couple of years ago and have been hooked ever since. It has a decent weight to it (I do prefer a silghtly heavier razor!), a slightly longer shaft (handle) and a lovely feel to it which for me, all adds up to a very good DE razor.
    In fact, I would say that the 71R is a very good “first” DE and indeed, I have recommended it to several of my ‘newbies’ with great results!
    I must admit, I was unaware that Parker had produced a straight with a replaceable blade (a legal requirement for barbers in the UK) and will certainly do a little research now with a view to purchasing one. If it compares favourably with my beloved 71R, I will be a happy man!

  7. Ted Pettinicchi (TAP119 on B & B) says

    Early on in my rediscovery of wet shaving, about 4 years ago, I purchased a new Parker 92R. I was satisfied with the weight, performance and looks. My only criticism at that time was that I felt the doors were “floppy”-they had too much play in them when open. I gave that razor to a friend after I got a Gillette Black Beauty long handle adjustable. I bought another 92R last Christmas for my nephew Brian and I’d buy another.

    • Howie Woda says

      Hello, There are quite a few retailers in the U.S and Europe that will ship worldwide for very reasonable prices so you should be able to easily obtain one of our products no matter where you live. If you can’t easily locate one, just let me know and I’ll figure out how to get you the products you are looking for.

      • SCN says

        Hi Howie,

        Purchasing a razor from an overseas seller seems like a bad option to me :) USD 30 is well over INR 1500. Considering 0 shipping, it is still a costly affair. In addition, there would be some import duty applicable. This would bundle up in a ridiculously high price. All this for an item that was originally made in India! So I was curious if they are sold locally. It would save a potential buyer a lot of money.

        SCN

        • mantic59 says

          I encourage you to get with Howie “offline” about this since its not really related to the post. I’m sure if you use the ‘contact us’ link at supersafetyrazors.com he’ll be happy to respond.

  8. Steven Thompson says

    I have been using a 96R every day for a year now and think it’s a fine razor. The patterned handle is easy to grip even when wet and the long handle feels comfortable in the hand.

  9. says

    Well, I was definitely wrong not to revisit Parker razors before posting. My apologies and lesson learned. The 92R I used this morning was a perfectly good razor: nice heft, well made, smoothly functioning (as shaver and as TTO). Here’s my review/shave, and I’ll soon be buying more Parkers, which offer another good razor option.

  10. rhollander74 says

    Has anyone used a Merkur Model 180 Long Handle? That is the only safety razor I have ever owned and I was wondering how it stacks up to the Parker 92R. thanks. Rick.

  11. StephenH says

    I have purchased a few Parker TTOs from Lee’s Razors. While I didn’t like the first two,the 60R because it felt flimsy and the 99R because the grip is slippery and the TTO doors work there way open while I am shaving, I decided to get a 92R, and I am glad I did. I love the heavy feel, and the great grip on the handle. Everything that I didn’t like on the previous Parker’s has been improved. I do wish for just a bit more blade exposure, for a slightly more aggressive shave. I am hoping the long awaited adjustable is on its way soon, as I think that would become one of my favorite razors.

  12. Ray Harvey says

    I have the 71r and it is the most aggresive razor I have outside of a straight. The only blade I use in it is the Dorco ST 300, which becomes into a better blade in it. I especially like the handle on it, the checkering in it makes it easy to hold even when wet. It is nice and heavy. It is one of my top 3 razors after my Merkur 1904 and EJ DE86BL.

    • says

      I am surprised to hear that Ray. I have to say that I don’t find my 71R particularly aggressive at all. In fact, as I’ve stated above, I’ve recommended it, with great success, to a few ‘newbies’ who have converted over to the DE with relevant ease.
      I also use a range of blades with my 71R, again, with no problems.
      I agree with your other observations re this superb razor – a fine addition for any DE enthusiast!

  13. Justin says

    I have a parker 22R TTO razor. While I love the look and feel of the razor, I’m having a problem. It seems that it becomes loose as I use it. This happens to the point I have to twist it after each pass. If I don’t, the blade ends up moving and I cut myself. I want to use this razor every day, but I’ve stopped because of the loosening of the body. Has anyone ever heard of this? Is this common or just something wrong with mine?

  14. says

    I have a recent 92R and I keep on thinking it is fluke that I get such good shaves with so little of the usual aftermath. In comparison to my usual rotation of Red Tip, Jagger 89, Futur, Mergress I am now putting this in the front. Long handle, weight, balance and blade exposure are nearly perfect for my current skill set. I’ve had to look if I had a blade in it yet I’ve had some of smoothest, non-irritating shaves with the usual set ups.
    YMMV but very highly recommended, especially considering the price.

  15. Ian says

    Great article Mantic! Would you consider the 92r aggressive or more mild, or somewhere in between? I’ve only used an Edwin Jagger de89, so that’s what I’d be comparing it to if I got one, which I just might do.

  16. Rob says

    I am looking to have a starter razor (have been using the Mach 3, etc for years, and would like to move to the Parker razor) and am looking at the Parker 22R and 99R. I have been looking online and can’t find any differences mentioned. Do you have any suggestion for a beginner?

    Thank you so much!
    Rob

    • mantic59 says

      Hi Rob– The 22 is slightly lighter than the 99 but I believe they share the same head design. My personal choice would be the 22 but there are plenty of people who like the 99 too, so I think you would be fine with either one.

  17. Ryan Wood says

    Does the Parker 92R head cover the entire blade? I nicked my nose real bad with a Gillette adjustable with the exposed blade.
    Thanks.

  18. Drew says

    Love my 92R. I bought a Merkur 180 and could not get a good shave with it unless I loss end the head. With the 92R I had a great shave the first time I used it. I love the way it fits into my hand perfectly the balance is great. I also love the grip on it. I think the groves could be deeper but it has yet to slip out of my hand when wet. The one down side to this razor is that you have to make sure the blade is screwed down tight, while shaving it can loosen itself so every 3rd or 4th pass I tend to check that it is snug.

    I would love to see a Gillette Fatboy clone from Parker with a barrel like the 92R but just a little deeper in the checkerboard pattern.

  19. Krishna says

    Hi,

    Thanks for the writeup!! I just bought a Gillette razor and I am hooked onto safety razors and want to go one step up :). Do you know where I can get a Parker safety razor in Bangalore?

    Thank you!

  20. Jack says

    I have purchased a 99R – Long Handle Super Heavyweight (Butterfly). I really like it. It’s weight is ideal for me and it is not too aggressive. I would recommend it to anybody.

  21. Forgan says

    Very good article. Interesting things in there. I’m just getting started into wet shaving. I just bought a Gillette Slim Adjustable at an antique store, but I was looking at the Parker 92R before I bought the vintage razor. I still might get the Parker, but my wife is already giving me a hard time (playfully) about getting into wet shaving. She asking where/when the savings comes into play. LOL…

  22. Arin says

    I’m just getting into wet shaving, and actually happened to get my first Parker shavette today. My brother has an early model from a few years ago, it’s shaped like the SR1, but has some Arabic script on it, whereas my new SR1 is a bit heavier.

    Sorry, I just thought this was as interesting as your article.

  23. Shibb says

    Has anyone tried the Parker travel razor? It looks perfect for traveling since it breaks down real small….but I am curious about the quality of the shave. I have seen mixed reviews, was curious about your thoughts.

  24. Ben says

    I’ve been shaving with a Parker 96r for about two weeks. Today, while paying extra attention to my angles, I noticed that one side feels more aggressive than the other. Upon inspection, it does indeed look like one side offers more blade exposure than the other. Do you know if this is by design? Or perhaps it’s the result of an unfortunate drop?

    • mantic59 says

      Blade exposure should be the same on both sides. Try removing and re-inserting the blade to be sure it’s mounted correctly.

      • Glen Riddle says

        I bought a Parker 96r about a month and half ago. I to had a problem with the alignment of the blade. One side being more aggressive than the other side. At first I just marked the milder side of the razor and used it on that side until it started getting dull and then take out the blade and turn it around and use it again. Then I thoght about it and decided to see if I could fix that problem. I checked the center blade guide and it wiggled so I put the blade in and pulled on it to the milder side and closed the butterfly and walla it lined up. This may not fix all the alignment problem’s but it did so on mine. I hope this help’s some of the user’s out there. I have been shaving for over 50 years now and most of that is with DE Razor’s , mostly Gillette Tech . Thank’s

  25. William says

    I have a very tough beard I tried a DE many years ago. After some reading and googling I decide to to try it again I bought the 99R Parker has done wonders with the DE I was very skeptical about trying one but I am amazed at the quality of the shave best shave I have had in years. And not paying 5 bucks for a razor that I only get two uses out of doesn’t hurt either. You have made a convert out of me.
    Thanks again

  26. says

    Should’ve known to come here when looking for advice on the 92R! I was considering buying one for my son’s first razor due to the TTO, which decreases exposure to setting blades… you know, I was thinking like a “dad.” Lol

    Glad to read that the quality has improved and that this should be a fine choice for my young man’s first razor. Thank you for your detailed reviews and background information on this company. I’ll probably pick up a 92R for myself for head shaving and I’d been looking at purchasing a TTO for the wife as well, so I’d say that’s a done deal now too.

  27. Dale says

    After 43 years of shaving with only a cartridge system, I purchased a Parker 98R this week. My first shave had a few nicks but nothing horrible. Today was my third shave and it was great. Calculating over 16,000 times I’ve grumbled as I endured the daily duty of scraping my face, I told my wife I’m actually disappointed I can only use my Parker 98R once a day. I would never have thought I would actually enjoy shaving. Thanks for all the videos and blog info. I may be an older dog but I really enjoy knowing this old/new trick..

  28. Ken says

    I bought a 99r. I never used to shave regularly due to the cost of the multiblade contraptions the big two keep foisting on us. I started shaving with a DE and decided to go back.
    I chose the 99r for the length and the weight. I am very happy with the results I get.
    My only complaint is that it will often loosen in the middle of shaving. Possibly due to me being left handed and my grip being “backwards”

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