United States Patent Office granted the original patent
(#293,651) for this unique shave to Albert D. Goodell
of Millers Falls, Massachusetts, on February 19, 1884.
The patent was immediately assigned to the Millers Falls
Company, and the shave was marketed as Goodell's Spoke
Shave. At that time, Goodell was the plant superintendent
at the company. By 1888, he had left to set up the Goodell
Brothers Company with his sibling, Henry. This company
eventually became the Goodell-Pratt Company, which merged
with the Millers Falls Company in 1931.
In the patent papers, Goodell claims that the circular
cutter provides a clean cut, rather than the scraping
action common to other shaves. He further states that
the unique method of holding the blade and capturing the
ends of the cutter prevents digging in while cutting.
This mechanism also prevents chatter, guarantees the operator's
safety while using it, and allows the operator to skew
the shave. Free discharge of any shavings produced is
ensured, as the holding method does not allow any protuberances
to impede the shaving.
The circular cutter is also most innovative. Manufactured
to the same tolerances as the body, it allows for repeatable
and consistent manufacturing tolerances. However, in practice,
sharpening this cutter is problematic, as figuring out
a holding method borders on a new invention itself. Traditionally,
the bottom bevel is ground as a regular edge would be,
and the inside is honed in whatever manner is practical.
Setting the blade for a fine cut can be challenging for
a new owner, and requires some practice.
This shave was made in three versions, the difference
being the profile of the handle, which is often manufactured
from cocobolo and other exotic woods. The tool shown is
a type 2 model. Other manufacturers have copied this shave
and the circular cutter system.
This Millers Falls spokeshave is knownand consistently
referred to by collectorsas the cigar shave because
of its slim, tubular shape. It is exceptional for cutting
to an obstruction or for maneuvering in a restricted
space, since one or both handles can be removed. It
is also useful for refining an internal circular profile.