The Mongoose single edge (SE) safety razor has gained the attention of wet shaving enthusiasts and collectors alike. It’s limited availability, styling and performance has buyers seeking for more. While many traditional wet shavers have heard of or owned a Mongoose razor, many do not know the story behind it.
The Mongoose Story
A few months ago I purchased my first Mongoose through the recommendations of some friends. Intrigued, I searched the web for more information regarding the story behind my new acquisition. I was shocked to find that instead of a website, Mongoose Razors came up as a local business! I had no idea that the Mongoose corporate headquarters was located several miles from where I work.
Several weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have lunch with Bruce Webber one of the owners and the inventor of the Mongoose razor. He was kind enough to tell me the entire story of how the Mongoose came to be and gave his full permission for me to share the story. Up until now, this information has never been shared with the public.
During our conversation, Bruce mentioned his love for collecting and using traditional wet shaving gear. He’s owned countless razors and enjoyed using and collecting them all. Several years ago he purchased a Cobra safety razor and he was very intrigued with the concept. The Cobra used single edge, artist style blades which are usually reserved for shavette style safety razors. He found that the razor performed extremely well, and was really impressed by the quality of the blades.
The idea for the Mongoose Razor came to Bruce while traveling home from an overseas business trip in 2013. After using his Cobra razor for some time Bruce began thinking about making a single edge safety razor that was more his style. He drew a rough draft of the razor design and based around the Artist Club style blades* that he had grown to admire.
When he arrived home he brought the concept to friend and high-end knife maker Robindra Mukherjew with the intention of making a razor that could be given out to friends. Mukherjew took on the project and experimented with several designs. Soon after, friend and future Mongoose business partner Matt Glass joined the prototype process. Over the next year, the team went through the strenuous process of designing a working prototype. After ten attempts, they came up with one that fit the Bruce’s vision.
With a working prototype it was now time to find a production facility. Mr. Webber and the rest of the Mongoose team had no intention of sacrificing quality and were on their way to choosing a manufacturing facility. They found several shops in south Florida that were capable of producing the razors and played a vital role in establishing the production process. That’s right you read it correctly, all Mongoose razors are made in America, with American materials.
Once the production process started the team soon realized how difficult it was to produce the Mongoose razors. In order for the finish to be evenly distributed the metal on the razors have to be perfect with zero imperfections. While this process proves to be very time consuming, the end result was very impressive. (This process is even more difficult when anodizing aluminum, such as the Alumigoose)
After over 18 months of research and development, their vision was finally a reality. In December of 2014 the first Mongoose razor was sold. Several months later Mongoose changed the game when they announced the Alumigoose selling out their initial runs almost instantly. Today over 5000 razors have been sold under the Alumnigoose and Mongoose lines.
Several months ago Mongoose shared their American Patent information on their Facebook page and history was officially made. Traditional wet shaving now shaved in the history books! The Mongoose razor was awarded an official United States Design Patent in 2016 proving the Mongoose brand will be remembered for generations to come.
The reasoning behind the patent is quite simple. To protect the brand and the unique design that 10 prototypes and 18 months to design.
Types of Mongoose Razors:
There are several models of Mongoose razors that have made it through the production stages.
The Original Mongoose:
- Stainless steel construction
- Available in satin or polished finish
- Heaviest of the three
- Several different handles but the design has stayed mostly the same.
- Aluminum construction
- Has been available in several colors and finishes
- Features the hex square design that is most commonly known but started off with a more rounded handle.
- Stainless steel version of the Alumigoose.
- Available now
- Polished or Satin finish
It was a great experience! Bruce and I not only discussed the Mongoose brand, but collecting wet shaving apparel and spoke about the industry as whole. We had a great time and planned on meeting up again soon.
One thing I took from our meet-up was the passion and dedication Bruce and the rest of the Mongoose team had to producing the best razor possible. These guys really care about their customers and wet shaving as a whole and I was really impressed with their determination.
Being a Mongoose fan and fortunate to own an Alumigoose and Stainless Steel Mongoose I feel a review is in order!
All Mongoose razors come in a sturdy black box with the company logo embossed on the front. Inside the razor awaits its owner on a bed of cotton to keep it safe and secure. I find the packaging to be sufficient for the cause however I wouldn’t mind the razor sitting in an insert that would have room for a blade dispenser.
My Alumigoose happens to be one of the few blue anodized finished razors in existence, but the design is the same as the regular Alumigoose model. This particular razor was made several miles from my home so needless to say it’s a very special piece of my collection.
The finish is outstanding. The dark blue color makes the razor really stand out without being overly flashy. It’s durable and perfectly even throughout the entire piece. When holding it, you can’t help but feel how smooth the handle is. There are literally no imperfections in the finish of this razor. It’s really incredible.
At 48 grams, the razor feels very balanced and even. This is a trait I look for when purchasing a razor. Heavier razors may feel solid and more stable, but if it’s not balanced then the extra weight is pointless. In case you’re wondering, a balanced razor means the weight is distributed evenly from the head to the handle.
The Stainless Steel Mongoose is a different animal. While both versions use a similar head design that’s where the similarities end. The stainless ‘Goose is much heavier than its aluminum brother and features a unique grip that’s very comfortable. Even though the razor is much heavier, it does not feel awkward. It’s designed to even distribute the weight of the head with the rest of the handle, much like the Alumigoose. This is a prime example of a heavy razor that utilizes the extra weight effectively as previously mentioned.
All Mongoose razors consist of the classic 3 piece design and the parts are interchangeable with all Mongoose razors as well as many popular three piece designed razors. I personally would not recommend using another handle as it offsets the weight ratio and will alter performance. Put it this way, the team at Mongoose put a lot of time and effort into the development of their razors. It’s best to use them “as is” in order to get the full experience and to really understand the complexity of your shaving device.
Both razors use the Artist Club style blades* that are readily available from many online retailers. For this review, I went with my personal favorite the Feather Professional.
One thing I would like to mention is that I have used most of the “Artist Club Style” razors that are available today and the Mongoose proves to be the most forgiving and mildest of the bunch. Both the Stainless and the Alumigoose provide a very close shave effortlessly, with no fear of being cut. The shave is mild yet very efficient. This is where I feel these razors earn their “gold stars”.
The Alumigoose shaves effortlessly with the grain and I couldn’t help but notice how smooth and clean my face felt after the first pass. There is no learning curve when beginning to use this razor. I wasn’t too concerned with using light pressure as I mention in many of my razor reviews because the angle of the guard is just right. The shape of the razor head and the angle the blade meets the guard is where the Mongoose brand earns its price, in my opinion. How the team was able to figure out the perfect angle truly baffles me. It’s literally perfect.
Shaving against the grain proved similar results. Clean, smooth passes with little or no touch-up. The razor glided over my face with ease and did not irritate or nick my face in the least.
The Stainless Mongoose requires a little more attention. With the added weight it’s important to use just enough pressure to glide with ease over your face during passes. The grip on the handle may look a little intimidating but it is very comfortable and provides adequate grip.
Like the Alumigoose, the Mongoose performed effortlessly when shaving against the grain although it does requires a lighter touch as previously mentioned. On the scale of aggressiveness, the stainless model just tops the Alumigoose and is perfect for those who have past experience with traditional wet shaving razors looking for a little more aggression.
Both versions of the Mongoose are fabulous performers. They are awesome razors that have many hours of research and development invested into the design and it truly shows.
I highly recommend the Alumigoose for the relatively new wet shaver. It’s surprisingly mild and is very forgiving to those who are learning technique and complex enough for those with more experience. I would recommend the Stainless Mongoose for those who have some experience in traditional wet shaving and those who have learned the basics of technique.
Mongoose razors are available in limited quantities at Maggard’s and Straight Razor Designs. So check them out when you get a chance! Special thanks to Matt and Bruce for taking the time to speak to me about their company and for all that they do in the wet shaving community.
About the Author:
Joe Borrelli is a long-time wet shaving enthusiast and collector. He hosts the Wet Shaving News Podcast and runs his own self-funded website http://shavestraightandsafe.com/ to help inform the community of new information involving the wet shaving world. Joe holds a BBA from Florida Atlantic University, and currently works for the nation’s largest wine/spirits/beer retailer. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Linda, outdoor activities and collecting wet shaving apparel. Find out more about Joe here. Check out my YouTube channel for more wet shaving content!