The 1914 uses standard GEM single-edge blades, but due to the fact that it was originally designed for blades without the cut-outs on the sides they don't sit very secure until the lid is snapped shut.
The first time I tried my 1914, she bit me pretty badly, but the next time she behaved. I'm not sure if itwas a dud blade, or my improved technique, but for those who - like me - are more used to DE-razors extra care has to be taken with the angle of the razor. This time I got the best results when the top of the head was flat or almost flat against my skin.
Construction is plated brass, and since mine is in close to mint condition it slides smoothly over my skin. The sheer amount of exposed blade means a little care has to be taken in selecting the lather though; I've yet to make this beauty work with anything but tallow.
Can I recommend the Ever-Ready 1914? Well... maybe. She did bite, and bite hard the first times I tried her, but now she gives a good shave... so not as your first SE.