Those of you that know us well have likely heard by now that Shannon recently gave birth to twin boys. We appreciate all the help and support that you've given us. Even if you haven't dropped by with a casserole, your purchases and continued interest in Shannon's Soaps help us to support our suddenly large family.
While the birth of the twins has certainly been exciting, an event of nearly equal excitement happened last week. I was visiting my parents to help my dad brew the beer in the kit I bought him for Christmas, and in the midst of all the unwanted junk they heap on me in an effort to empty out their house (e.g., every school assignment I ever did) was something I actually did want - a couple of my dad's old double edge safety razors. As many of you know, Shannon makes some great shaving soap, and because I've got a difficult beard, I'm always on the lookout for a way to get a better shave. Plus, DE razors are just so darn cool. They're a bit like the old bakelite rotary telephones I've found at thrift stores - made decades ago, you can still bring them home, hook them up, and they still work brilliantly. In many ways, DE safety razors work better than their modern counterparts. Those 5-bladed beasts not only cost a fortune, they also irritate my face terribly.
One of them was a Gillette Super Speed, similar to the one I already have, but a bit newer, with a black plastic handle. The other turned out to be Schick Krona. At first, I suppose I was slightly disappointed, because it wasn't a "real" DE (i.e., a Gillette), but I later became intrigued and anxious to see how it stacked up against my Super Speed. I guess it's not surprising that Schick would have made a double edge razor, but I had not really considered it, as I almost exclusively associate Schick with injector razors, which I still must try someday.
The Krona was manufactured from 1959 to 1965. It is a TTO (twist to open) model, which allows the blade to be replaced without disassembling the razor. It has a long plastic handle (around 4 inches) and a sturdy metal head with angled doors. Like other DE razors, a number of variations were produced over the years. In the case of the Krona, these variations seem to have been mostly cosmetic - lettering on the doors, ("Schick", and/or "Krona"), a different logo on the tip (Schick vs. Eversharp), and a black plastic versus a metal tip.
Before doing any real research on it save learning its name, I cleaned it up, popped in a US-made Personna stainless blade, put my '53 Super Speed in a drawer, and used the Krona for about a week. I have to say that I really like it. It lacks the solid heft of my all-metal Gillette, but it is overall well balanced. Reviews I've since read say it shaves similar to a Super Speed. Some claim that it's more aggressive, while others say it is less, but most indicate that the operative word is slightly. I find myself in the "less aggressive" camp. I find I get less irritation, particularly on my neck, though this could be due to the angled doors on the Krona - it may be that they help me find the right shaving angle more easily. The doors have another benefit: they give the razor head a slimmer profile that makes it super-easy to shave under the nose. That's something I consistently have trouble with using the Gillette.
The longer handle is nice, offering great control, and the rectangular projections serve to keep the razor securely in hand. Speaking of the handle, a common opinion seems to be that the lack of a metal handle as the main reason that these razors are not more sought after. I’d add that the handle design isn’t particularly attractive. I don’t think it’s simply a case of function over form. I have to imagine you can bundle the aforementioned benefits in a nicer-looking package. It reminds me of the Ameritrust tower here in Cleveland, a brutalist-style building designed by Marcel Breuer that was completed in 1971. From my perspective, the building and the razor handle are ugly, but I can appreciate their uniqueness – in a sea of sameness, both stand out.
At present, with two babies screaming in my ears, it’s a bit difficult to say which new arrival makes me happiest – the razor, or the twins. The Krona will consistently deliver a near-irritation free shave, where as the boys are likely to deliver consistent irritation until they are able to nap for more than 10 minutes at a time. At some point they will learn, and in the long run, will certainly deliver more happiness than the razor – by a narrow margin. :)