I’ve discussed various self loading brushes before. But all of them, including the one from 1849 as well as the Brush Plus from the eighties, used soap that was either liquid or semi-liquid. Woodburry P Lefavour’s shaving brush patent from 1890 is the first I’ve seen that used a solid soap.

Inventions are – when all is said and done – solutions to a problem or an improvement to the state of the art. Lefavour claimed that his brush was a new and useful improvement to the humble shaving brush.

The invention isn’t complicated to understand. Take a push-up shave stick – not dissimilar in concept to the abandoned patent we just looked at – and wrap a shaving brush around it.

Or as the patent text says;

The object of my invention is to combine with a shaving-brush a Soap-stick and longitudinally adjustable soap-holder arranged centrally within the brush and its handle, so as to produce a lather on the face simply by dipping the brush in water and brushing it against the face without the need of rubbing the brush on a cake of soap, as is generally done, thus providing a quick, simple, and ready means for lathering the face preparatory to shaving the beard.

Patent drawing from US patent 422,085

The soap holder was a simple tube, with a slit down one side. Inside the tube was a cylinder, with a knob protruding out to the slit. On the top of this cylinder there was a shaving stick.

Around the open end of the soap holder was a shaving brush knot, secured in a ferule. Secured in a suitable manner, I might add – even if the patent don’t suggest what this suitable manner would be.

And that was pretty much the whole thing. Tu use, as the quote above suggest, the shaver would dip it in water, and then proceed to face lather.

Would Lefavour’s shaving brush work? Probably.

Would it be uncomfortable to lather with, given the stick of soap in the middle? Probably.

Would it be better than a regular brush and a cake of soap? Probably not. And that is probably why this style of self feeding shaving brush is not a thing any more.

You can read the full patent for Lefavour’s shaving brush on Google Patents.