Vintage Gear Exploration: Schick Injector Type “I”

Posted: November 12, 2016 in Shaving Articles
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type-i

Of the various wet shaving tools that exist, I’ve tried many of them. Slants. Open combs. Adjustables. A GEM. A straight razor.

One thing I hadn’t tried was an Injector. The Injector was born out of an idea that Colonel Schick got while in the military. Impressed by the idea of magazine-loaded firearms, he decided that a razor could benefit from this method of blade loading. He set about creating one, and the Injector was born.

There was a long era when Gillette controlled the patent to a double edge, replaceable blade razor. In that time, other manufacturers that wanted to produce something to compete had to radically diverge from the Gillette formula. GEM went with the large single blade, of the same shape as a window scraper. Schick, instead, went with a small blade built of relatively thick stock. This was pushed into a sprung-mechanism blade carrier from a “blade bank”. I’ll include a picture of it in the article.

The end result of Schick’s invention is a razor that has a head that may be strangely familiar. Essentially, it looks a lot like a very thin version of the cartridge razor that would eventually come out. Small, thin head to easily fit into the trouble spots on your face. Similar blade angle to something like a TRAC-Two or an old BIC. Of course, it is they who were likely modeled after the Schick, as it long predates them.

The razor(s) that I picked up were actually from a little antique shop in Maine, purchased when I was on vacation. I can’t remember exactly where, but I was able to find two Type “I” Injectors for five dollars. Yes, for the pair. One looked pretty rough, while the other was well preserved. White composite handles and gold hardware on the head. One was marked “Schick”, the other “Eversharp Schick”. They are otherwise identical. After cleaning and polishing, they are both looking good, with limited obvious wear for such old razors. This version of the Injector dates from 1955 to 1958, if my research is correct.

An amusing element of the whole thing is that I had to purchase some blades, seven of which cost more than the razors themselves. Oh, well. Still a modest investment for being able to try what was the primary competition to Gillette in the shaving world for decades.

How does it shave?

The first shave indicated to me that this is a fairly simple shaving tool to understand. It isn’t difficult to grasp the correct angle. The light weight and small dimensions of the razor make it maneuverable. I found that it was very comfortable on my face, but not quite so much on my neck. Although I was using a light touch, it gave me some irritation on my neck, in the old familiar trouble spots. Not serious razor burn or cuts, but a bit of irritation. I would say the end result of the shave was good, not great in terms of closeness. I would say it was similar to some of my mildest double edge razors in that arena, but with a bit more sense of “bite” on my neck than I’m used to getting from an otherwise mild shave.

My sense is that, if you were using this like I used to use a cartridge razor, it would do fine. That is to say, just doing a one-pass shave to maintain a “good enough” level of smoothness, or perhaps doing a safe two-pass with no daring choices on the neck. Again, it worked fine on my face, but the neck saw it be a little stringent for my taste.

I’ll have to shave more with it to get the full picture. Read on for my further adventures.

I came back to the Injector and tried another three pass shave, this time with Cella soap, and on a healthy face with no lingering irritation. I got a very nice shave, and it was totally comfortable all the way through. The quality of the shave was really good. Any better than average… Shrug. Perhaps not. I would say that it’s easier to understand how it works than a double edge. The blade is wearing well, and I’m always pleased when the shaves get better as a little mileage accumulates on the blade.

The Injector is still a viable shaving technology. For some, it might end up being their favorite. The blades are a little harder to find, and the element of a having a million choices is not there for an Injector, as it is for any double edge. That may not be a bad thing for a novice shaver, though, as there are fewer confounding variables to contend with. I actually believe that this would be a great first razor for someone going from cartridge razors to a more traditional method. My sense is that the Injector, while effective on thick stubble, is going to be smoother than a lot of cartridges.

At two and a half dollars, the Injector razors are, far and away, the cheapest vintage razors I have in the stable. They don’t look or perform that way.

I may come back around at a later date and give you additional data points about the Injectors, but for now, I can say that, for me, they work a little better than the GEM, as the blades available for them are sharp enough to cut the hair without irritating the skin beneath. (More on this in a further review.)

As with anything, a lot of the success of a shaving venture depends on patience, a little technique, and having your face well prepared for the experience. (I say face, but the same techniques apply to anywhere you might shave. Hydrated, clean skin, a knowledge of the direction of the hair growth, and a nice, slick layer of soap are vital.)

Given that your skin is prepared and you use the tool correctly, the Injector razor can get the job done. End of story.

blades

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