King Camp Gillette
Born January 5, 1855 – July 9, 1932
Patent #: 775,134
King Camp Gillette conceived the idea for and developed the disposable
safety razor. Gillette's invention changed men's personal care, making it
more convenient and safer to shave at home.
Gillette sought to create a product that could be used, thrown away, and
bought again. At the time, razors were expensive and men typically used the
same one for life; moreover, the blade had to be sharpened before each use.
He struggled for years to find a way to make a blade inexpensively from a
thin piece of metal that could be thrown away when it got dull. He worked
with inventor William Nickerson, who helped improve Gillette's design and
build a machine that would harden, hone, grind, and sharpen the blades.
The Gillette razor was standard issue for U.S. soldiers during World War I.
By 1926, the Gillette Company produced 2.1 million blades each day, and men
rarely went to barbers for a shave. Gillette's invention evolved over the
years, and disposable razors became a familiar convenience in the daily
lives of men and women alike.
Born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Gillette established the American
Safety Razor Company, forerunner to the Gillette Company, and sold its
first razor in 1903. Although only 51 razor sets and 168 blades were
sold that year, by 1904, sales had jumped to 90,000 razors and two