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How to Date USA Gillette Safety Razors

Posted by Marissa Neel on

The number one inquiry we receive from customers and vintage shaving enthusiasts relate to dating Gillette Safety Razors. Many e-mails share a similar story, a razor is discovered and is the last remaining keepsake from a family member. Knowing the age of a razor can provide context and much needed connection to a special life lived. Watch the video below to learn our dating secrets!



Razor Serial Numbers were impressed on all Gillette razors from 1904 until 1921, and on deluxe models from 1921 until 1931 (except for a period in 1927-28). This corresponds to the time King Gillette was directly associated with the business, and may have been at his insistence. These serial numbers were on the top of the guard, or sometimes the inner barrel. There were no razor serial numbers from 1931 until 1951.

Gillette Blade Date Codes (and earlier lot systems) were imprinted on one side of the blade as a series of letters and/ or numbers, or on the cartridge. The blade system adopted in 1931 is still in use today, and was used on razors as well after 1950. All the coding systems are listed below. 

Gillette Date Codes were used from January 1951 until 2001. They are found in the top left and right corners on the underside of razor guards, both 3 piece and 1 piece models. The letter represents the year, found on the chart below, and the number 1-4 correspond with the quarter of the year.

Helpful Resources: 

-   GilletteDateCodes.com This chart is a quick reference for most razors made by Gillette including some internationally manufactured razors. 

-   RazorArchive.com An enormous resource for publications, catalogs, advertisements, and advanced Gillette collecting articles available for free! 

-   Video Learning Center Our collection of educational videos ranging from Gillette history, to straight razor shaving, to modern brand insights. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new video! 

Old Type 1903-1921

  • Open comb
  • Curved head
  • Stabilizer pins
  • Three piece
  • Some models guard attached to handle

Tech 1939-1973

  • Closed comb (solid guard)
  • Three piece
  • Triangle guard (1939-1947)
  • Oval guard, no date code (1947-1951)
  • Date code (1951-1973)

New Improved 1921-1929

  • Open comb
  • Flat guard
  • Stabilizer pins

One Piece with Closed Comb 1940-June 1947

  • Solid guard
  • Non-notched center bar
  • End caps

NEW 1930-1932

  • Open comb
  • Short comb & long comb varieties
  • No stabilizer pins, long slit
  • Ears on corners of top cap

One Piece with Notched Center Bar July 1947-1966

  • Solid guard
  • Notched center bar
  • end caps
  • Date codes began in January 1951

Goodwill 1931

Adjustable Generation 1 1956-1969

  • Solid guard
  • Notched center bar
  • End caps
  • Adjustable dial

One Piece with Open Comb 1934-1939

  • Open comb
  • Twist to open knob
  • No end caps
  • Rivet attached and straight post varieties
  • Non-notched center bar

Adjustable Generation 2

  • Solid guard
  • Notched center bar
  • End caps
  • Adjustable dial
  • Black handle


Keep in mind there are variances, Deluxe models, miss-stamps, and undiscovered information. Collecting these razors is fascinating and we are still learning new things every year!

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