Gillette U.S. Service Razor Set

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The first safety razor was patented by King Gillette in 1901. It was created as an alternative to the straight razor, which required skill to wield, making a shave the purview of the local barber. Gillette's invention, which used disposable blades, eliminated the need for sharpening the blade and allowed the user to shave himself without fear of serious injury. He founded the American Safety Razor Company that same year. The Gillette Company was a player in the market for 101 years, until is was purchased by the Proctor & Gamble Company in 2005. Savvy marketing by the company, plus a good product, was the reason for the longevity.
One of those products, the U.S. Service Set, was introduced by the Gillette Safety Razor Company (as it was known then) during World War I. There were two versions, the khaki set and the metal set. The Gillette khaki set was issued to the soldier, but the metal set was available for the purchase price of five dollars from retailers such as Sears Roebuck and Company. It was marketed as the gift the soldier in service would like to have, and many were purchased by family and friends. The metal tin came with a handle, razor head, a pack of blades, and a mirror on the interior of the lid. The exterior of the lid was embossed with U.S. Army and Navy insignia.
date made
issuing authority
United States Government
Gillette Safety Razor Company
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 4 1/4 in x 2 in x 1 in; 10.795 cm x 5.08 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
related event
World War I
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History