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1901 - King Camp Gillette and William Emery Nickerson invented the world's first disposable razor blade in 1901. (Boston)

King Camp Gillette (1855-1932) was an American businessman and inventor. He is best known for inventing the disposable safety razor, which revolutionized shaving and became an essential personal care product for people around the world.
Before Gillette's invention, shaving was typically done with straight razors or safety razors that required frequent sharpening or blade replacements, which was expensive and time-consuming. In 1895, while working as a salesman, Gillette came up with the idea of a disposable razor with a thin, replaceable blade that could be discarded when dull.

Gillette worked on developing his disposable razor concept and eventually filed a patent application for it in 1901. However, it wasn't until 1904 that he founded the American Safety Razor Company (later known as Gillette Company) to start manufacturing and selling his invention. The original Gillette razor had a simple design: a handle with a detachable razor blade that could be replaced with a new one once it became dull. The razor was not only practical but also affordable, which made it accessible to a wide range of consumers.

The Gillette disposable razor gained immense popularity over the years, becoming a symbol of convenience and modernity. Gillette's business model, which involved selling the razor handle at a low cost and making a profit from selling replacement blades, became a significant commercial success.

William Emery Nickerson (1880-1959) was an American engineer and businessman who collaborated with King Camp Gillette to develop a blade manufacturing process that greatly contributed to the success of the disposable razor.
Nickerson was an expert in metallurgy and had a background in engineering. He was tasked with solving the problem of creating thin, sharp, and durable blades that could be produced at a low cost. The development of a successful blade manufacturing process was crucial for the widespread adoption of disposable razors, as the blades needed to be affordable enough for consumers to embrace the concept.

Together, Gillette and Nickerson worked on improving the production methods for the disposable razor blades. They developed a way to stamp out the thin steel blades from a sheet of steel, making the process much more efficient and cost-effective. This innovation allowed them to mass-produce the razor blades at a lower cost, making disposable razors even more appealing to consumers.

As a result of their collaboration, the disposable razor business boomed, and both King Camp Gillette and William Emery Nickerson played instrumental roles in shaping the way we shave today. Their contributions led to the widespread use of disposable razors and established the Gillette brand as one of the most recognizable names in the personal care industry.


Launched His Product on Unwilling Market 30 Years Ago


Born in Wisconsin In 1855; Worked Five Years In Perfecting Holder for Blade

Associated Press
LOS ANGELES, July 10. - King Camp Gillette, who perfected the double-edged safety razor blade is dead at the age of 77.

The inventor and manufacturer succumbed late last night after undergoing several operations during two years for an intestinal malady.

He came to California nearly 20 years ago from Boston, where he organized the Gilette Safety Razor Company in 1901. His Los Angeles realty transactions were among the largest ever recorded here.

Educated in Chicago, Mr. Gillette became a salesman and later London branch manager for a bottle stopper company. After conceiving the thin, sharp blade to overcome the task of straight-edged shaving, he devoted five years to evolve a holder.


The razor was launched as a commercial product in 1903. Only 11 sets were sold that year, but annual sales of as may as 15,000,000 and 1,000,000,000 blades followed.

Mr. Gillette was born in Fond du Lac, Wis., January 5, 1855. His father, George Wolcott Gillette, was an inventor before him. His mother wrote "The White House Cook Book."

The difficulty of trying to shave with a dull straight-edged razor inspired King Camp Gillette to do something to make that daily task easier and safer.

He studied the problem constantly and finally there came to him the idea of the thin, sharp, double-edged razor blade that could be manufactured so cheaply that it could be discarded when it became dull.

How to use the blade was another matter that occupied the attention of Mr. Gillette for five years, during which he worked out the plan and finally perfected the model for the Gillette safety razor. The device eventually made him a wealthy man and his face one of the best known in the world, for his likeness was printed on the wrapper of every Gillette blade, the sales of which amounted to more than 1,000,000,000 a year.

Living at Brookline, Mass., at the time, Mr. Gillette interested William E. Nickerson, and Instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in his idea. The latter showed his faith in the new shaving device by accepting stock in the company which Gillette had formed in lieu of salary for his services, much of the later success of the razor was attributed by Mr. Gillette to the mechanical genius of Nickerson, who designed and made all the machines with one exception, now in the the Gillette plant at Boston. Mr. Gillette was the author of several books dealing generally with the political economy. One of those was "World Corporation" which outlined a plan he announced in 1910 to incorporate the world as a business concern with the late Theodore Roosevelt as president at a salary of $250,000 a year. The purpose of the corporation would be to do away with political government, war, poverty and waste resulting from individual competition. The "World Corporation" was incorporated by Mr. Gillette under the laws of Arizona, its charter provided for unlimited capitalization and authorization to offer stock at one dollar a share.

Announcing his plan, Mr. Gillette said:

"I believe in World Corporation for the people, for the people as opposed to corporations by individuals for individuals. I believe in international co-operation with all nations and all nations with each other for the accomplishment of universal peace through World Corporation. I believe in the corporation acquisition and final ownership of all property and control of all industry by the people. I believe in the elimination of equity between individuals throughout the world on the basis of intelligence. This is not Communism or Socialism or any other ism. It is simply the application of proved business methods to the management of the world."

For a number of years Mr. Gillette has taken no part in business. He spent much of his time travelling abroad, having made many trips overseas and a world tour in 1927. He also devoted much time to writing...

On June 2, 1890 Mr. Gillette married Miss Atlanta E. Gaines, daughter of Alanson Gaines of Willoughby, Ohio, an oil magnate. They had a son, King George Gillette.

Since 1913 Mr. Gillette made his home at Santa Monica, Calif. In that year he purchased Miramar, many years the residence of the Senator John P. Jones of California. He also had other large real estate interests in the state.

Although a member of several scientific and literary organizations as well as city and county clubs in New York, Boston and Los Angeles, he was not active in any of them as he card little for [sic] interests or sports.

Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
July 11, 1932

1921 Gillette ad
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Learn more about the life of flag photo of King Camp GILLETTE   King Camp GILLETTE.

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Boston, Massachusetts, USA