History of Razors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

A razor is an edge tool (primarily, used in shaving).



Early razors

Razors occur in the British Bronze Age, often oval in shape with a small tang protruding from one of the short ends, and are made of bronze.

In its simplest form, a razor is a steel blade attached to a handle. Using a razor, the practice of removing body hair is a common method of depilation. A razor is most commonly used by men to shave their facial hair, sometimes all of their hair, and by women to shave their leg and underarm hair and, sometimes, pubic hair.

Straight razors (also called cut-throat razors) with open steel blades, now used chiefly by barbers, were the most common before the 20th century—and, in many countries, until the 1950s.

Safety razor

Safety razor with three blades
Safety razor with three blades

The safety razor was developed in the mid-1800s. Early razor blades needed continuous sharpening, soon becoming worn out, making them expensive. The Kampfe Brothers developed a type of razor along these lines. The safety razor first developed in the United States by the Kampfe Brothers used a forged blade.

In 1903, the American inventor King Camp Gillette invented a safety razor with disposable blades. Gillette realized that a profit could be made by selling a safety razor at a reduced price and then making a nice profit margin on the inexpensive disposable blades. This has been called the Razor and blades business model, or a "loss leader". To realize his idea, Gillette founded the American Safety Razor Company on September 28, 1901. The company's name was changed in July 1902 to Gillette Safety Razor Company. Gillette's particular innovation for disposable safety razors (patent US775134) beat out competitors.

Gillette's thin blade was covered by the razor, thus protecting the skin against deep cuts. This enabled people to safely shave themselves for the first time. Plastic disposable razors and razors with replaceable blades, often with two or three cutting edges (but sometimes with four cutting edges), are in common use today.

Electric razor

This electric hair clipper requires no soap or shaving cream.
This electric hair clipper requires no soap or shaving cream.
Old electric shaver
Old electric shaver

The electric razor (also known as the electric dry shaver) is a common electrical shaving device with a rotating or oscillating blade. The electric razor does not require the use of shaving cream, soap, or water. It was invented in the 1930s by the American manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick. The Remington Rand Corporation developed the electric razor further, first producing the Remington brand of razor in 1937.

Another important inventor was Prof. Alexandre Horowitz, from Philips Laboratories in the Netherlands, who invented the very successful concept of the revolving electric razor. It has a shaving head consisting of cutters that cut off the hair entering the head of the razor at skin level. The razor is powered by a small DC motor, and usually has rechargeable batteries, though early ones were powered directly from the mains.

Early versions of electric razors were meant to be used on dry skin only. More recent electric razors have been designed which allow for shaving cream and moisture.

Other razors

A utility knife is a common tool used in grocery stores and other places. Such a knife generally consists of a simple and cheap holder, typically flat, approximately one inch wide and three to four inches long, and typically made of either metal or plastic. Some use standard razor blades, others specialised double ended blades.

A potato peeler is a metal blade attached to a metal, plastic or wooden handle that is used for peeling vegetables, usually potatoes.

Razor wire is a mesh of metal strips with sharp edges whose purpose it is to prevent passage by human beings. Furthermore, razor wire is sharper than the barbs of barbed wire.

See also

Figurative uses

A boat or ship made of metal is sometimes said to "now be razor blades" after it has been scrapped.

Occam's razor is a scientific term used to describe the way nature tends towards parsimonious methods of accomplishing a given end. For example: evolutionarily speaking, it is much easier to suggest that flight evolved independantly three times for bats, birds and insects, than to suggest that there was one branch of the tree of evolution that broke off as a new trait of 'flight' and that this branch then evolved the three tremendously distinct organisms mentioned before. This is because their respective methods of flight and wing design are so vastly different that it is more parsimonious to hypothesize that flight evolved three different times, each independant from one another. This is also why science is forced to suggest that humans came from apes when it is clear from DNA study that apes and humans share 95% of the DNA sequence. Science has no choice but to assert the most parsimonious method, and it is much more parsimonious to say 'evolution' than 'a being came and purposely created apes and humans separately but with 95% of the same DNA.' In this sense, Occam's razor comes and 'cuts off' all less parsimonious suggestiong than the most parsimonious one.

External links

How to use a straight razor, from Mother Earth News, March/April 1972.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia © 2001-2005 Wikipedia contributors (Disclaimer)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.


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