Drawing courtesy of Mike Frommer and shared with permission.
CAD file courtesy of Tom Wight and shared with permission.
I've seen barbershop supply ads for shaving brushes with removable brushes/knots. This allowed a barber to use one handle and several knots in a day while keeping others clean and sterile. I was originally of the school that the '400 was one of these brushes, but I've since revised my position. It's my belief that this brush model was meant for the self-shaver, not necessarily a barber, and that the ferrule was intended to be glued on permanently. Rubberset did make brushes that the knot detached (see Models B-19, 207 & 543/544) but the design, threading, and cap (bottom) of the knot were all different and better designed for this purpose.
Ads for these brushes are vary scarce. This reprint of an ad was purchased on eBay. I was told it was from "Success Barber & Beauty Supply" in Moravia, Iowa and undated. The seller said that it was found in a box with other barber shop catalogs dated 1941 and that it was assumed to be from the late 1930's. It is the only ad I've ever seen for the Aluminum Rubberset 400. I have not been able to validate it's authenticity but assume it to be genuine as it looks identical to pages from other catalogs from this supplier.
This timeframe makes sense to me. The Albright family sold the company in 1934 and that would be after Bristol-Myers took control that this model was released. I found no patent for this design and the Albrights were prolific in patenting their work. I'm confident that if this was done during the Albright era we would find evidence of a patent for the design.
Several things pop out from this ad.
1. The aluminum handled version of the model 400 is significantly cheaper than the wooden handled version.
2. The #4A model is 22% more expensive than the #3 model.
3. There is no mention of
an unnumbered version of the aluminum model 400.
This model seems to be as common as those with a "3" or a "4".
This is how they normally look today when found in the "wild" and in unrestored condition:
Here is an interesting and rare example of one that made it past the Rubberset quality control team. It was double stamped making it a "44".
New Old Stock:
Here is a late model version (1956 / 1957) from the Sherwin-Williams days.
Notice the Rubberset logo on the box.
According to this trademark registration:
|November 10, 1956 - first used|
|August 23, 1963 - trademark was applied for|
|July 21, 1964 - trademark granted|
|October 21, 1984 - trademark expired|
The Rubberset company stopped making shaving brushes on August 31, 1957, less than a year after this trademark was first used and after the company was purchased by the paint-brush maker Sherwin-Williams. This picture would have been one of the last 400's made. If Rubberset started making them around the assumed time of the Success Barber & Beauty Supply ad above then they were produced over a total time span of about 20 years. They were very likely not made during the supply shortages of WWII (aluminum production was diverted for military use) so the actual estimated production run would be around 15 years.
Here are some modern day productions of Rubberset 400 clones:
Barcelona Shaving Brushes (BSB) makes a wonderful modern version that gives homage to the venerable '400. These come in either aluminum or titanium. They are truly beautiful works of shaving art and are top of the line.
Phoenix Artisan Accoutrements (PAA) makes the "Switchback 400". The original model was made from a chrome plated and die cast zinc alloy and came with two different ferrules each with a synthetic knot. The new models are CNC lathe turned 6061 aluminum that has been anodized in black or red. They are sold with or without a knot. Weight of handle with collar: ~97 grams (3.45oz). Length of handle with collar: ~8 centimeters (3.14").
This one was custom made by an anonymous maker in England. It is made from a solid billet of marine grade aluminum alloy. It came with two ferrules; one takes a 24mm knot and the other takes a 26mm knot. Handle weight: 83.7 grams. There are no markings on it.
Markus Herber in Germany makes these beautiful brushes in many different styles.
Disclaimer: This site is not affiliated or endorsed by Rubberset Company, a division of the Sherwin-Williams Company. Rubberset Company has a website with their summarized history here. This site is exclusively concerned with the early history of the company as it relates to their shaving brushes and was compiled from public information freely available on the web. It is intended to be informational in nature, not commercial.