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Safety razors

A safety razor is a razor where only the cutting edge of one or more blades are exposed, and the rest is covered.

History of Safety Razors

Drawing from US patent #775,134, Gillette's safety razor patent.

The invention of the safety razor is often credited to the Frenchman Jean-Jacques Perret, a man passionate about shaving. He was inspired by the joiner's plane and detailed his system in La Pogonotomia or the Art of Learning to Shave Oneself in 1762. His system was a sort of cover over a straight razor leaving only the very edge exposed. Later, throughout the 19th century, various variations on the same idea were put forward, but none of them became very popular.

In the 19th century, ideas more resembling the modern safety razor were being developed. In 1847, an English inventor, W.S. Henson, invented the first (recorded) safety razor of its type with the blade perpendicular to the handle.

Safety razors did not become popular until King Camp Gillette's disposable safety razor came into production. Gillette filed a patent in 1901, which was awarded in 1904. Gillette started production in 1903 with only a few dozen razors and a few hundred blades sold. The sales skyrocketed in 1904, with over 90,000 razors and 123,000 blades being sold. By 1908, sales had surpassed the million mark. During the First World War, Gillette had a contract with the US armed forces putting 3.5 million razors and 32 million blades into military hands, cementing Gillette's market leading position. This, in turn, moved a whole generation from straight to safety razor shaving.

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