On November 15, 1904, patent #775,134 was granted to King C. Gillette for a safety 'razor'. King Camp Gillette was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin in 1855.
To support himself when the family’s home was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871, Gillette became a traveling salesman. This work led him to William Painter, the inventor of the disposable Crown Cork bottle cap, who assured Gillette that a successful invention was one that was purchased over and over again by satisfied customers.
In 1895, after several years of considering and rejecting possible inventions, Gillette suddenly had a brilliant idea while shaving one morning. It was an entirely new razor and blade that flashed in his mind—a razor with a safe, inexpensive, and disposable blade.
It took six years for Gillette’s idea to evolve. During that time, technical experts told Gillette that it would be impossible to produce steel that was hard, thin, and inexpensive enough for commercial development of the disposable razor blade. Then in 1901, MIT graduate William Nickerson agreed to try.
By 1903, he had succeeded. Production of the Gillette ® safety razor and blade began as the Gillette Safety Razor Company started operations in South Boston. Sales grew steadily. During World War I, the U.S. Government issued Gillette safety razors to the entire armed forces. By the end of the war, some 3.5 million razors and 32 million blades were put into military hands, thereby converting an entire nation to the Gillette safety razor.
Today, vintage Gillette safety razors are in high demand, razors such as the iconic Fatboy and the Slim now sell for between £100 and £200.
Regretfully, in my opinion, Gillette now longer make good razors, instead they chase profits selling multi blade razor blades that make substantial profits. Often Gillette wil provide a free razor when you buy a pack of replacement blades. The cash cow is the blade not the razor. Today's Mach3 and Fusion blades will give up to 6 close, comfortable shaves before needing replaced, costs for a single Mach 3 blade are around £2.00 and £3.00 for a Fusion blade making shaving with these blades prohibitive for many.
One way to beat the system is to buy a RazorPit Blade Sharpener, this easy to use tool will prolong the life of your blade to up to 150 shaves before it will need replacing.
Another downside to today's Gillette razors is their flimsy construction, they are usually made from plastic and rubber, the build quality is poor and they are too light for users. Executive Shaving stocks a range of high quality, well made and heavier razor handles that are compatible with Gillette Mach3 and Fusion blades, view our complete range of Gillette compatible razors here.
The remarks / comments above are the personal opinion of Brian Mulreany.