Gillette U.S. Service Razor Set

Gillette U.S. Service Razor Set

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Usage conditions apply
The first safety razor was patented by King Gillette in 1901. It was created as an alternative to the straight razor, which required skill to wield, making a shave the purview of the local barber. Gillette's invention, which used disposable blades, eliminated the need for sharpening the blade and allowed the user to shave himself without fear of serious injury. He founded the American Safety Razor Company that same year. The Gillette Company was a player in the market for 101 years, until is was purchased by the Proctor & Gamble Company in 2005. Savvy marketing by the company, plus a good product, was the reason for the longevity.
One of those products, the U.S. Service Set, was introduced by the Gillette Safety Razor Company (as it was known then) during World War I. There were two versions, the khaki set and the metal set. The Gillette khaki set was issued to the soldier, but the metal set was available for the purchase price of five dollars from retailers such as Sears Roebuck and Company. It was marketed as the gift the soldier in service would like to have, and many were purchased by family and friends. The metal tin came with a handle, razor head, a pack of blades, and a mirror on the interior of the lid. The exterior of the lid was embossed with U.S. Army and Navy insignia.
Object Name
razor set
Other Terms
razor set; Equipment, Individual; Army
date made
issuing authority
United States Government
Gillette Safety Razor Company
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 4 1/4 in x 2 in x 1 in; 10.795 cm x 5.08 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
World War I
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I have one with the name engraved RAY VAN ZANT
This seems to be inaccurate to call Gillette's razor first patented safety razor. What about Kampfe brothers' safety razor patented in 1880?
I have a Gillette razor kit from I believe WW2 that belonged to my father. It has everything the above one has plus a mirror. However it case is made of cloth and printed on it is PROPERTY U.S. ARMY.....KHAKI SET. I have searched and have not been able to find one like it. Could you just tell me if you have ever seen one like this? I would just like to know if it was issued during WW2 . Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
Kathy, I know your comment is really old, but just in case you never got an answer, I thought I would shed some light. The case you have was issued to a WWI soldier probably around 1918 or so. The razor (on the head) should have a serial number starting with the letter "J" and should also say "property of US Army" on it. If it has these markings, it is probably the original razor for that case.
I have exactly what you got and was given to me by grandfather. This information was very helpful. So with the J in the S/N It is from WW1.
The PROPERTY U.S. ARMY Khaki sets were produced during ww1 specifically for the US army. Because of gas warfare it was important to have a clean shaven face, so the gas masks would have a tight fit. That is the reason why the army equipped the soldiers with razors in ww1 opposed to ww2 where they did not. 3,5 mio. Khaki sets were ordered by the army and almost all are marked with a "J" serial number. The lower the number the earlier the razor. So your dads razor set is older that ww2, This video is a superb guide to US military razor sets:

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