Gillette Blade

"No Stropping, No Honing."
As a young man, King C. Gillette (1855-1932) worked as a traveling salesman. Always interested in inventions, King received a number of patents, none more important than one for a disposable safety razor blade.
In developing the blade, King was inspired by one of his employers, William Painter, who made his fortune inventing the disposable bottle cap. Painter advised Gillette to invent another disposable item that would create a steady stream of return customers. In 1895, Gillette worked out the idea for a razor blade that could be fit into a holder and replaced when dulled, thereby insuring a sharp blade for every shave. After an extensive search, Gillette found William Emery Nickerson, an MIT trained engineer, to produce the thin, sharpened steel blades he envisioned.
In 1901 the American Safety Razor Company, soon renamed the Gillette Safety Razor Company, was formed. Production began in 1903, with Gillette being granted his patent on November 15, 1904. Despite a flood of imitators, the Gillette Company was a success, and King Gillette retired from management in 1913.
Despite considerable economic success in the competitive market, Gillette remained an anti-capitalist utopian and a staunch advocate of social engineering. He both wrote and subsidized books on the subjects, including The Human Drift (1894,) Gillette's Industrial Solution (1908,) and World Corporation (1910.)
While King Gillette's personal fortune was ruined after the 1929 stock market crash, the Gillette Company still exists as a subsidiary of the Proctor & Gamble Company.
This razor blade was made by the Gillette Company around 1910. It features a trademarked image of King Gillette on a paper wrapper.
Currently not on view
Object Name
personal hygiene product
razor blade
depicted (sitter)
Gillette, King C.
Gillette Company
Physical Description
steel (product material)
paper (packaging material)
overall: 4.6 cm x 2.5 cm; 1 13/16 in x 31/32 in
overall: 1 7/8 in x 1 in x in; 4.7625 cm x 2.54 cm x .03175 cm
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Health & Medicine
Beauty and Health
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Hair Removal
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Marketed to Men
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Marketed to Men
Beauty and Health
Beauty and Hygiene Products: Hair Removal
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Additional Media

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