Vintage Gear Exploration: Schick Krona

Posted: August 7, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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For much of the early run of double edged safety razors in the 20th century, Gillette had the patent locked down. Thus, they were the only game in town for the double edged razors. Other razor brands got around this by using single edged designs. The two luminaries of those days were GEM and Schick. The GEM used a blade that is like a window scraper, while the Schick “Injector” used a proprietary single edged design that loaded via a magazine, like a military rifle.

By the 1960’s, the patent had run out, and other brands were free to create double edged razors of their own. Schick’s entry to this market was the Krona, a razor that appeared in 1964, if my information is correct. The Krona was a twist to open design with the dial at the bottom of the handle. Initially, both the head and the dial segment were made from metal, while the handle was made from plastic. The basic design was fairly similar to the Gillettes of the era, such as the Superspeed. By the 60’s, Gillette had begun to utilize a light anodized aluminum handle, so the plastic handle was not altogether out of left field.

The Krona changed to a plastic handle and plastic dial after the first few years, but the design didn’t change much from its inception until its exit from the market. My research indicates that, at least in the American market, the Krona carried on until 1976 or thereabouts. Details of the Krona aren’t nearly as voluminous as those for the classic Gillette razors. In the same way, they are a small part of the vintage market. In general, the all metal razors are more highly sought after, where the later razors that feature resin or plastic are not as desirable. In the same way, Kronas are not necessarily considered “must have” razors by as many shavers or collectors. This is not to say that they don’t have a certain cache, or their vocal proponents. To avoid confusion, it should be mentioned that the Krona was also marketed as Schick Double Edge, or the D-80 in Japan. It was also marketed as an Eversharp razor for a short time.

As has been my pattern, I stopped into Jitterbug Antiques, a local business that is within walking distance of my workplace. I’d seen a few Schicks in there before, and was interested in adding one to my stable of vintage razors. I picked the one that seemed, to me, a bit more substantial. Upon doing some research, it appears that my example is from 1964, the first year of production. It’s in very good condition, with the only cosmetic blemish being that one element of the outboard door mechanism has lost most of its plating. No issues with function presented themselves, and the razor cleaned up very nicely with my standard attentions.

After research indicated that the Krona was a mild to moderate razor, I decided that an Astra SP would be a good fit, as that is a pretty sharp blade. The first shave achieved very good closeness, with no nicks, cuts, or unusual irritation.

My impression is that the Krona handles a lot like a Superspeed with a longer handle. I would say that it is somewhat more efficent than the late-era Superspeeds, and felt just a bit more aggressive on the skin. There were a few points where I got that, “Dude, be a little careful,” sense as I performed the shave. Nothing to be concerned with, but certainly indicative of the fact that the dynamics of the Krona are a bit more potent than the arguably too gentle Gillettes of the same era. In reality, a razor that will give you some feedback without any harm to your skin is not altogether a bad thing.

At this point, razors don’t have an easy road if they want to impress me. I have some pretty darned good razors at my disposal. I’ll have to do a few more shaves with the Krona to find out if it will become a favorite, or simply a fun razor to dust off from time to time.

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Comments
  1. Dave says:

    You’re one of the few guys who have been correct (in as far as I know) about the Krona’s year of introduction. I recently acquired a first generation Krona (short metal TTO know & unmarked doors, and listed as a ’59-’65), along with a couple of early Schick Plus-Platinum blades. My collection of razors (+70 so far, mostly Gillettes, with a bunch of Gem & injectors thrown in) is pretty extensive, so I have a few to compare against the Krona. All I can say is…wow. What a razor! I thought the extra-long handle would be awkward, but just the opposite. Handled as well as it shaved. But there is a sad lacking in information about these great razors.

    • Dave, thanks for the comment. Yes, they are a good razor. I prefer the Gillette TTOs, for the most part, but these are often available for a song, and are still great shaving tools. Cheers!

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