The RazoRock OLD Type is one of my go-to recommendations for the person new to safety razors. What makes it an OLD type is that it’s visually similar to the earliest Gillette safety razors, clamping the blade so that it lies over the open comb and can’t have blade chatter, something other razors might suffer from. What makes it one of my go-to recommendations, in my top 5 list, is that it’s both very efficient, while being very, very comfortable, and the razor with stainless steel handle is priced below $15 US dollars. But that’s not all there is to say.
The Original Gillette OLD Type
The Gillette OLD type is the Ur-razor, the safety razor that dominated early shaving and begat copies and descendants alike. It wasn’t the first safety razor, but it was the one that captured the public’s awareness. Just as we don’t buy Nehi or Moxie Cola in vending machines today, we don’t hear of those other razors nearly as much. Everyone knows what a Gillette is, but you have to be a shaving nut to know who the Kampfe brothers were.
The construction of the Gillette OLD type was simple. It was two pieces of brass hammered and swaged to mate each other, made of two main radii that were 0.53″ and 0.66″. The blades had three holes in them, so the top cap had two bullet pins and a central threaded rod. The handles were a ball end, and a threaded end to screw onto the top cap, jammed in an undersized brass tube, which is why so many of the examples from the early 1900s have cracks in the handles – those end pieces stressed the center tube over time, long past the useful life Gillette expected the razor to have.
There have been many copies over the years, whether the Hoffritz travel razor, or in 2009, the Ikon razor (Ikon’s first razors were OLD type copies). The OLD type is commonly characterized as being somewhat harsh, or overly aggressive. There were a few variations of it as it was originally made from 1904 to 1929, and the ones with thick top caps are generally regarded as being more comfortable. To top it off, because the original Gillette blades were thicker than the blades of today (the THIN blade was introduced in 1939) it sometimes helps to shim the blade in the Gillette OLD type, so that the blade height more closely resembles the original geometry.
The RazorRock OLD Type
It’s important to remember that very subtle changes in geometry of a razor head can have a big impact on feel. That’s why the RazoRock OLD type has very little in common with the Gillette OLD type that it impersonates. The modern RazoRock implementation is a zamak alloy construction head on a stainless steel handle. (It was originally sold on a plated brass handle, which is how it’s shown here.) The blade still sits flat on the open comb base plate, just as in the original, and the top cap bends the blade over the comb to stiffen the blade. The top cap retains the two alignment bullets and the central threaded rod. It looks nearly identical, but looks can be deceiving: That’s where the similarities end.
The RazoRock OLD type is a mild head, but very efficient. A better way to describe it is comfortable and efficient; that is, it’s good at cutting hair, reducing it easily with each pass. ItalianBarber.com compares it to the RazoRock Baby Smooth, a razor that has a well-deserved reputation for being highly efficient (smooth shaves!) with very little blade feel. They’re not wrong: the RazoRock OLD is an easy razor for new and experienced users alike, and it moves around the face with ease. Like its ancestor, the RazoRock OLD can be used with a blade shim, which causes it to become even more efficient, while still being comfortable.
The RazoRock OLD Type is one of the best deals in DE shaving today. When I’m asked to recommend a razor for a new user, I recommend the Dorco PL-602 and this RR OLD type. It’s the perfect match of low budget and high quality results. The head is available as head-only, on stainless steel handle, and as a discounted part of a starter kit for new users. Had it been my first razor, I don’t know that I would have felt the need to explore as much as I have. It’s just that good. The RazoRock OLD Type is available for $7.95 for the head, or $14.99 for the head on a stainless steel handle. It’s an affordable razor that delivers excellent results, at a price point well-matched for the newcomer to wet shaving.