doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

Whatever happened to …

… Wilkinson Sword?

I was out walking the dog the other day and noticed a single razor blade at the side of the road.  That got me really thinking and remembering and counting money…

As a teenager, I just couldn’t wait until I could shave.  It was one of those passages to manhood, I guess.  There did come a time when I needed to do it.  I borrowed my father’s razor and it was one of those single blade razors with a Wilkinson Sword razor blade in it.  It was his brand.  The blades seemed to last forever.  They sure seemed to last a great deal longer than the toilet paper roll where I would rip off little pieces and stick them to the inevitable cuts.  Those little bumps right under the nose were the worst.  I could mitigate it a bit by making a funny face in the mirror.

It was painful.  Why did I ever long to be able to butcher my face?

These days, you see these single blades in movies in drug preparation.  I haven’t noticed them in the supermarket or drug store where I buy blades.

After a few years, I had saved enough money to buy an electric razor.  I remember it having three heads on it and the advertising was that it wouldn’t cause you to cut yourself.  It didn’t mentioned that you didn’t get a really close shave though.  Basically, I’d end up with a scrub when I was done.

At one point, I decided to grow a beard.  I looked good in it but it still needed the help of a razor to keep things trim.  And scissors to trim.  That can be even more painful.  So, I whacked it off one day and just left a moustache.

Then, the shaving world changed.  New razors and new designs gave us razors with two blades and then three blades and then five blades.  The idea was to give you the closest shave possible.  And it did.  It still does.

These days, I bounce between Schick and Gillette.  They have become so expensive that the stores have to put them behind little plastic doors that set off an alarm when you try to get a package!  Now, the price is the determining factor.  I do find that Schick blades last longer than Gillette do before they lose their edge resulting in pain.

I can’t win.

It’s not just a guy thing.  Shania Twain sings about razors but I find it had to believe that it’s a financial issue for her.

So, for a Sunday, let’s have some fun with this.

  • Do you remember your first razor?
  • What really is the optimal number of blades in a razor?
  • Have you ever grown a beard?  Goatee?  Something fancy sculpted with a razor?
  • What works best?  A running flow of hot water on the blade or a full sink and you swish the razor in the water.
  • Do you have any tips or tricks for extending the life of razor blades?
  • Whatever did happen to Wilkinson Sword?

Please take a moment to share your razor experience in the comments below.

This is part of a fun regular Sunday series of blog posts.  You can read them all here.


7 responses to “Whatever happened to …”

  1. A few years ago I bought a Japanese straight razor & haven’t looked back. Upfront investment was a bit but I’ve made it up in not buying anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Garlick Avatar
    David Garlick

    My experiences are remarkably similar to yours Doug. Except my parents bought me a ‘high end’ electric razor with twelve closeness settings and a pop up trimmer for Christmas when I was still a teenager. I kept it until last year when I donated it to Value Village.

    I’ve had a beard for most of my adult life, opting to trim it every couple weeks and quickly shave my cheeks and neck each morning. To be honest, I’m surprised each morning not to cut myself because, for years, I’d leave for school with little dots of toilet paper on my face soaking up the blood from my morning adventure.

    I’d learned very early on that the person who’d invented the stiptic pencil and after shave was a sadist.

    There was something terribly wrong with a society that encouraged young men to be clean shaven at a time they were also dealing with acne.

    There’s not much though, that feels as nice as a barber shave. The hot towels and heated shaving cream… If you can find a capable barber that will do this for you, I recommend that each man try it at least once.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doug, while it’s not just a “guy thing,” I do wonder if women have as many razor options. Do they remember their first time shaving with as much joy as men? I don’t, but I would be curious to know if I’m the norm here. Your post has me wondering …


    P.S. This is the first time I heard of the Wilkinson Sword? Anyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wilkinson Sword still exists and still sells razors – you’ve just been a victim of advertising and market consolidation. They did stop making actual swords in 2005. See

    Here’s their home page: They have a full range of products for both men and women.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Further to my earlier point: Its my belief that the big razor companies have deprived us all of learning the fine art of shaving with a real blade, and also severely depleted the skill and capacity to make and care for these products in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Shaving is such an interesting topic. To Stephen’s point, it’s not just me! I think it may be a whole culture that has bought into this commercial thing. Maybe it’s because I live in a small town and the vendors sell what the people are asking for. That would explain only a couple of options!


  7. when I was a kid I was always in a split grade with kids older than me. I was in a grade 6/8 split class and all the girls in grade 8 were shaving their legs. Mom told me I was too young (December baby, so I was probably about 11 years old). I decided to sneak into the bathroom and use my dad’s single blade safety razor to shave my legs. It did not go well. I nicked that little tendon area right above the ankle bone and it bled like crazy. I’m not sure how I thought I was going to hide suddenly smooth legs from mom and dad but there was certainly no hiding the mess I’d made of it. I still have the scars!

    As for the present day – one word – lasers!


Please share your thoughts here. I’d enjoy reading them.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: