Story Behind Inventors and Inventions Safety Razor
About the origins, history and story behind the scenes of the inventor and invention of safety razors.
Extraordinary Stories behind Ordinary Objects That Had to Be Invented by Someone
Invention: Safety razor
Inventor: Jean-Jacques Perret, France; King Camp Gillette, U.S.
How Invented: There are two components to the modern safety razor: a guard to keep the blade from piercing the skin and disposable blades. Perret first put a guard on a razor in 1762. It looked somewhat like a small rake atop a standard barber's razor. But traveling salesman Gillette really turned shaving upside down in 1901 with his wafer-thin stamped-steel disposable blades. He had reinvented the safety razor in 1895, and for six years worked on the mechanics of the blade. His eventual partner, William Nickerson, finally helped him do it. In 1903 they produced 51 razors and 168 blades. In 1904 they were up to 90,000 razors and 12.4 million blades. Gillette attributed his success to the fact that he didn't believe the experts who kept telling him such a thin blade was impossible. In his words, "If I had been technically trained, I would have quit."
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