The Artifact Commemorative 10th Anniversary Safety Razor | Bakelite, Brass, 24 Karat Gold
To quote el señor Garcia, "What a long strange trip it's been!"
Ten years of business, a milestone I am told, and if that be true let us erect one then! But rather than a piece of cold granite and an iron plaque, how about a razor? A razor made of bakelite, my favorite material as you know, and let's make it an homage to something different, something classy and something, most importantly, mysterious! Gents & ladies, allow me to introduce you to The Artifact.
The Artifact no doubt is a rare and beautiful specimen for sure based on a very obscure, ingenious, vintage razor. A razor design that is almost a hundred years old*, a witness to the very early years of safety razor shaving, a lost relic, an artifact!
Composed of a butterscotch Bakelite handle, 24 karat plated gold brass top cap, a unique tortoise shell bakelite bottom cap and a concept like no other! The Artifact will certainly stand out in your collection, I promise. The Artifact is something different. We really poured our souls into this one people, a true labor of love...so much labor. This hobby is our passion! NOTE: Fran devoted months and months on that case, that design is all her!
The Artifact Collectible Case includes approximately 4 months worth of blades and a handsome, rugged travel and storage case w/ a 10th Anniversary buffing cloth! Also, no two Artifacts are the same! Each contains a unique, creamy, tortoise shell bakelite bottom cap! [see photos]
The Fog Of Where?
I believe I stumbled upon it while surfing on ebay or maybe it was etsy? In or around 2014? Yet when I review my past purchases on these platforms I find no record of such a razor. This leads me to believe I must have scooped it up in the wild at some point. But when? Where?
Whatever the case may be I was instantly enamored by it! I loved the feel in the hand and the shape of the handle. Not to mention the balance! With the top cap being metal it naturally put the weight where it needed to be, on the cutting edge while minimizing the user from applying too much pressure. Oh and what did the strange reservoirs on the inside of the bottom cap mean? How curious.
Then, to top it off quite literally, there was the hypnotic, decorative, art deco meandering pattern etched into the top cap. A kind of frame maybe, implying that what it enshrined was a real piece of art? I searched the internet the best I could and went page by page through Wait's Compendium a couple times and nada. Though beautiful, it was a frustrating enigma for sure.
Some of you who attended Big Shave West 3 or watched that episode of I'd Lather Be Shaving we filmed there, might remember me featuring this razor! That event and following video also yielded zero results in learning anything more about the razor. Sadly, it was shaping up to be just another ghost with a name lost to history. How tragic, yet appealing.
Fran and I knew exactly what we had to do and in 2019 began working on a reboot! Being that this antique razor was made up of 3 different materials; Bakelite, Brass & Gold, we would need to work with three different manufactures...sigh. Let me just say, often it's hard enough just working with one! But knowing we wanted to do something special for our 10th anniversary we got to work.
With such tight geometry nothing could be overlooked when it came to quality control and ongoing testing. Oh and then there was the small matter of the box it would be packaged in. So make that 4 manufactures to work with! Technically the buffing cloth would make 5 but at this point, who's counting? My point is, there were a lot of moving parts and I'm glad we started when we did. Note, the goal was to originally release it New Years Eve 2022! Lol, and wouldn't you know it we finally have them ready one month shy of missing our mark! This is so fitting for Phoenix Shaving I tell you!
But Then: NEW INFO HAS COME TO LIGHT!
Sooooo catching up to now. We debuted The Artifact at the recent Idaho Fall Shave Meet Up where the feedback was super positive and unanimous, we had a winner. Next our ever helpful reviewers received them to try and run through their own tests. Historically once the reviewers are posting their vids we typically drop the razor or whatever it may be around the same time, but having just hit our busy season and with the returns of some rather epic fall classic releases, we have been slammed. Which meant we had to keep pushing the release back. This can be a bummer but it does happen. However, in this time a viewer, Artur Gatzke, thought he might have recognized the razor! Really?
He first wrote to Josh Perkins, AKA; Subie Shaves, and shared his thoughts. Artur provided Josh with an old Etsy listing and a blurb from a popular shave forum. Josh gave it a once over and knew he was looking at the long lost grandpappy of The Artifact! Actually, it was the ladies model making it grandmammy I suppose.
It was called...brace yourself, The EverMoist. Ok...-- No, it was not ok. Why on Earth would they ever use that name? Not the most glamorous choice. I begin to read a little bit more of the fragments I was provided then now armed with a name, looked up the patent. You see, much in the same spirit or concept of the DOC, it was a "self lubricating" razor too!
Eat Your Heart Out Lubricating Strip Multi Blades!
Suddenly that mysterious reservoir in the bottom cap made sense! Again, how fitting that we accidentally reboot a razor design utilizing the very same concept as the DOC, the razor that really put us on the map and inspired many other vendors for years to come! Heck if you do the math, this could have actually inspired the Grand Razor (DOC's Grandpappy) way back! Talk about irony. Also, how utterly magical that we find all of this out after years now working on it in secret, assembling it, testing it, retesting it, having it redone again and again, prototype after prototype. It was under our nose the entire time! This is so Phoenix Shaving.
So only days out from this memorable release and all The Artifacts secrets have finally been revealed. truly magical. Thank you Artur for being a part of solving this riddle for us! NOW and only now, the last ten years were totally worth it!
A Quick Note On Bakelite
Bakelite has such a rich history in the USA where it was born in 1907, created by chemist Leo Baekeland! Fun Fact: During the war effort, we almost minted our pennies in Bakelite, but eventually went with steel. Pool Balls were even made out of bakelite, if that tells you anything about durability. Even our auto and aviation industries grew up along side Bakelite and we'd probably be 25 years behind if it wasn't for the stuff! Bakelite was and is AMAZING and truly has 1000 uses...STILL!
NOW, How Does The Artifact Work?
Ok like you, I wanted to know this too. I mean based on the blurb I read it made sense but how did you fill the reservoir? It really wasn't that intuitive to me. So I opened it up, filled up the bottom plate with cold water and screwed it back together in a manner that felt alien to me. Meaning, I held the caps and blade upside down; cap in my palm facing up while slowly adding the water. Then I aligned the blade on top by eye, lastly as if playing a game of Operation, I carefully placed the top cap down and screwed in the handle from below. This couldn't be the method they expected me to use, could it? I didn't think too much about it however and got immediately to the shave. I intentionally used cold water so I could detect it in a hot shave. I did. It was very noticeable as water dribbled out over the teeth of the open combs. I pulled the razor away and looked at it. How awesome was that? But I needed a second and third opinion still!
[Image Courtesy Artur Gatzke]
Pro Tip: Try Using Bloom Water!
So, I recruited Josh and Tobin (of Tobin's Throwbacks) to join me in these observations collectively reverse engineering the not so obvious method of using this mystifying razor! Josh began submerging it in a sink of hot water, Tobin had another technique that was similar, submerge it but with both hands twist the cap as if the razor were gulping the water up. They were definitely onto something!
If you look close, there are two tiny holes in the bottom cap, very reminiscent of those baking powder toy submarines that came in cereal boxes when we were kids...anyone else know what I mean? Regardless, submerging the razor under water in-between passes I'm quite sure is/was the way. This may also be the reason why they also included a metal cap; anchor weight! That said, with the added water weight now, the razor will be slightly heavier than the advertised weight, which may appeal to some. The thing is, while it sounds like a marketing ploy, it does what it claims to do, much like those tiny submarines of yore. I mean, the claims that other "self lubricating" razors make, you can actually feel and observe working with The Artifact.
Self Lubricating? Novelty? You Be The Judge!
At the end of the day, we just wanted to revive some super cool vintage shave tech that looked epic and shaved smoothly, the self lubricating aspect is just a cherry on top of an already 10th Anniversary Cake! Kinda like finding $20 bucks in an old pair of jeans you have not worn in years! I love that feeling and I am so glad I can share that feeling with so many members of the shave community!
It has truly been an honor for us to serve you the last 10 years! We really owe it all to you and your ongoing support! Lets do it for another 10, no...make that 100 years!
NOTE: If you have anymore info on The EverMoist Razor, especially the user manual, PLEASE hit us up! I will give you full credit and send you something special...bet you can guess what that may be! SHAVE ON!
3 Piece Safety Razor
Materials: Bakelite, Brass, 24k Gold
1 Travel & Storage Case, Handsome Vegan Leather
1 Microfiber Buffing Cloth
3 5-Packs Strangelet DE Blades
Complete Razor Length: 95 mm (3.75")
Weight: 31 grams