October 18, 2013

A close shave

Filed under: TIL — Jared @ 4:20 pm

So idle curiosity (and a pdf on shaving with a straight razor) led me to look up the “inventor” of the safety Razor, King C. Gillette. ┬áIt turns out he did nothing of the sort and his actual innovation was the “thin, inexpensive, disposable blade of stamped steel”. He’s also widely credited with the cheap razors\expensive blades business model but even that was something he copied from his competitors.

Interestingly enough though, Gillette was a dyed-in-the-wool Utopian Socialist, and wrote a few books on the subject. In The Human Drift, he asserted that all industry should be run by one corporation, owned by the people. He also thought that everyone in the US should live in a singular North American mega-city powered by Niagara Falls.

Gillette died almost penniless, having lost most of his fortune in the Great Depression.

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