Though many precursors to the safety razor were developed through the 1800’s, straight razor shaving remained the norm well into the first decades of the 20th century. Several versions of the safety razor were available by the early 1900’s, but the Gillette company would emerge to change the marketplace with a user-friendly design and savvy business acumen. King Camp Gillette’s patent, filed in 1901 and awarded in 1904, made a big splash and by 1908 his company had sold more than a million blades. With their recent business success and the right connections, Gillette won a contract with the US armed forces in a move that would change the landscape of shaving forever. Before the First World War, safety razors existed largely as a modern novelty, but never quite reaching a mainstream audience. Like so many habits, the form of shaving passed down in youth would persist, and the average American man was accustomed to straight razors. In WWI, however, Gillette put 3.5 million safety razors and 32 million blades into the hands of young men from across the country, cementing not only Gillette’s position as a market leader, but turning an entire generation from straight to safety razor shaving.
This Gillette safety razor is likely from the 1940’s, and disassembles to fit into a small travel-ready case. Because of limited supplies and demands for the war effort, most razors offered to the public during this time were very simple, however still always came with a special case to hold the razor and spare blades.
Please note: The dating and source of any of our items in Vintage LTD is an estimate, and not a guarantee. They are meant as collector's items, appreciated for their historical and aesthetic value, and not recommended for use.