Blades of Spanish Steel
Invented as a bloodless alternative to the straightedge and strop, safety razor patents were filed as early as 1880. The device offered a close shave and a packaging boon for printers worldwide to create razor blade wrappers.
Razor blade packaging and advertising was a big collectible. Such brands in America and Europe with names like Mac’s Smile, Merlin, Super Gam, Caressa, Honor, and Orplid, a Spanish brand, were very popular. Each of these wrappers (and often point-of-purchase displays too) was illustrated as though a miniature poster with a pulp image.
The wrappers were as ephemeral as the disposable white, blue and gold steel blades. There were so many different wrappers in circulation during the ’20s and ’30s that it’s a wonder the field did not drown in competitors. But since blades were so cheap to make, one firm could produce multiple brands, with names and anonymously designed graphics that appealed to someone, somewhere, and reminded men that a good shave had benefits.
The 2015 Regional Design Annual—a collection of nearly 350 of the best pieces of American design from the year—is available now. Meanwhile, the 2016 RDA, featuring judges Gail Anderson, Marc English, Timothy Goodman, Bill Grant, Jennifer Morla and Jessica Walsh, is officially accepting entries. Enter today for early bird rates and a chance to see your work featured in PRINT magazine.