king camp gillette

King Camp Gillette did not invent the safety razor–that honor goes to the Kampfe Brothers, circa 1880–but his company, founded in 1901, quickly became the foremost name in facial hair removal.

Advanced manufacturing methods, low prices and shrewd promotion–for example, Gillette arranged to have his safety razors issued to every American soldier during World War I–changed the practice of shaving from the exclusive domain of skilled barbers to an everyday act that any man could perform from the comfort of his own bathroom. And according to Gillette, his blade saved money and time, too.

From the March 1918 issue of The Gillette Blade: “Every razor sold by the Gillette Company represents a saving of half an hour of time spent in a barber shop, without saying anything about the money paid for service and tips. With an approximate number of 10 million customers this would represent a saving of 10 million half-hours per day, or a saving of 5 million hours which might be devoted to study or labor and which represents 500,000 working days of the labor of 500,000 men constantly employed, which is nearly twice the number employed by the U.S. Steel Corporation, which at $3.00 per day represents a saving of $1,500,000 per day, or for a year of 300 days, a saving to the United States of labor equal to $450,000,000.”

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