Who Invented the Razor?

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Who Invented the Razor?
Who Invented the Razor? (Image: FinishWell)

Over the centuries, men and women have used different methods to remove unwanted body hair. Shaving is the fastest and easiest way to remove body hair and it has improved continuously. The basic element of shaving is the razor. A razor is a bladed tool that cuts off the unwanted body hair. There have been different types of razors invented by different people.

Early razors

The first types of sharpened stone pieces used for shaving date back to the Stone Age. The razors were made out of flint or other types of stone (sometimes horns) and had very sharp edges. During the Bronze Age, razors were round in shape and usually made out of bronze or obsidian (a volcanic rock).

Straight razors

A straight razor is a shaving instrument formed by a blade that folds into the handle. The blade is usually made of steel and its narrow end rotates on a pin (pivot) between two protective pieces (scales). It was first produced in Sheffield, England, at the beginning of the 18th century. Using a straight razor requires good shaving skills and the blades often need to be honed and stropped to be sharp (see link in Resources section below). The straight razor is still used today by some barbers.

Safety razors

The safety razor was invented by Jean-Jacques Perret at the end of the 18th century. He was inspired by the shaping wood tool called plane. King Gillette in 1901 developed the idea and created the safety razor with cheap disposable blades that is still used today. The method was improved over the years, but the basis is the same. King Gillette's blade was double-edged and the razor was T-shaped. The top could be removed in order to insert a new blade. Today Gillette razors have cartridges with multiple blades. The first blade lifts the hair and cuts its top. The other blades cut the hair to skin level.

Electric razors

The electric razor was invented by U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jacob Schick in 1927. First, he created the Magazine Repeated Razor, with replacement razors inside the handle, so the person using it didn't have to touch the blades while changing them. His idea was inspired by the repeating rifle. His dry electric shaver had oscillating blades and was patented in 1931. In the Netherlands, the first double-headed electric shaver was invented by Alexandre Horowitz at Philips Company. The electric shavers were developed over the years, mostly by the Remington Rand Corporation.

Other types

The quick shave razor was invented by Herbie McNinch in Houston, Texas in 1995. Being tired of spending so much time shaving every day, he created the double-headed wet shave razor.

The headblade was invented by Todd Greene and is specially designed for head hair.

The manual hair clipper was invented by Nikola Bizumic and was created to cut hair. Today the manual clipper is rarely used, as the electric clipper is more popular and easy to use. The first electric clipper version was invented in early 1921 by Mathew Andis.

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