Who Invented the Electric Razor? A Brief History
We tend to take technology for granted in our everyday lives. Electric razors are easy to take for granted as a part of our daily routines. What you may not realize is that people have been loyal to their electric razors for about a hundred years.
Almost everything we use is rechargeable or plugged into a wall. Even toothbrushes aren’t as simple as they used to be. Modern innovations know no bounds.
The electric razor may seem like a modern innovation, but this creation is nearly a century old. Of course it’s been upgraded, improved, and reimagined over the course of decades, but the original gained traction in the 1930’s as a better way to shave. It was conceptualized as early as 1910, and the man who envisioned it spent 20 years from idea to patent bringing the electric razor to market.
Colonel Jacob Schick (yes, that Schick) is responsible for giving the world the electric razor. On an adventure to explore for gold that took him through northern Alaska and British Columbia, Canada, Schick suffered an injury. This injury made the task of shaving substantially more difficult for Schick, and is what ultimately got the gears turning on his idea for a new invention.
His initial idea was rudimentary. His first vision was of a razor powered by a motor the size of a softball, with the head of the razor directed and driven by a special cable. This first iteration was deemed large and unwieldy by the manufacturers he shopped the concept to. It seemed to make shaving more of a hassle, which would be more of a complication than an innovation.
Schick was undeterred by the public reception of his first concept. It inspired him to find a way to make the concept more palatable to the average consumer, at least to the extent where manufacturers would be willing to create functional prototypes of his design. Schick went off to serve the country in World War I, pausing his idea until he returned from service.
Schick’s Military Inspired Razor
Schick’s military experience, particularly observations he made of weaponry, broadened his horizons. He used this experience to draft up his second razor innovation design attempt. This time, Schick was inspired by repeating weapons.
He envisioned a magazine clip for an electric razor, where blades were stocked and automatically dispensed. He called his the Magazine Repeating Razor, effectively turning shaving into a weapon.
Schick debuted the Magazine Repeating Razor to the market in 1925, and men were interested. The Magazine Repeating Razor became a small-scale success. This outcome inspired Shick to take the concept even further, returning to his original idea of a dry electric razor.
Schick’s Dry Electric Razor
Schick worked from his old design, transforming the idea into a more compact razor that plugged directly into the wall. By 1927, Schick had functional prototypes and enough public interest to take the product to market. He sold his assets for capital to continue growing and innovating.
Schick Dry Shaver, Inc came to life in 1930, making his innovation widely accessible to men around the country. The idea was met with more resistance than accepted. At this point in time, electronic devices weren’t prevalent in the average household.
The idea of an electric razor in 1930 seemed strange to many people simply because electricity was seen as something that operated lights, and occasionally, electric stoves. The first working prototype of a television had only been demonstrated in the year 1927, and most people wouldn’t have a television in their home until 1951. Microwaves didn’t exist yet, electric blenders were still very new.
Although Schick had no way of knowing what was to come on the frontier of home electronic devices, he was undeterred by the slow adoption of his device. He established a factory in Stamford, Connecticut and began employing people. He continued to adapt the dry shaver and release different models.
In the mid 1940’s, the electric razor began to gain traction. It was a slow and steady rise to the top that continued into 1981, when Norelco took over operations and continued to improve upon the electric razor.
Innovations and Shaving Ritual
Most people regard their shaving ritual as an important part of their day. It’s time they spend relaxing and grooming themselves, and routines like these give people a sense of peace or normalcy. People were used to shaving with manual razors, and asking them to do something wildly different would be akin to asking a coffee drinker to switch to tea. People weren’t receptive to the idea at first. The benefits weren’t clear.
Schick’s persistence managed to change the minds of enough people to build an empire. People are still switching to electric razors once they come to understand how the benefits and convenience of an electric razor can positively impact their shaving ritual.
We’re Innovators at LTHR
Schick’s persistence and determination are inspiring. He saw a better way and remained focused on making his way accessible to more people. That’s what we’re doing at LTHR.
We’re a team of master barbers who clearly understand the benefits of hot lather shaving. That hot lather is one of the main reasons that most men love a barbershop shave. Warm lather allows for a comfortable, close shave while leaving the skin feeling fresh, invigorated, and moisturized. It’s a better way than the cold, foamy stuff from a metal can.
Our innovation is a compact and rechargeable countertop lather warmer that will allow men to duplicate the barbershop experience in their own bathroom. Like Schick, we’re sure that men who try hot lather at home will never want to go back.
Our deeply moisturizing, chemical-free shaving cream helps to create the ultimate hot lather experience. Sure, we’re a little biased, but we believe we’re changing the game.
Jacob Schick Invents the Electric Razor – Today in History: May 13 | Connecticut History
US1806087A - Shaving equipment | Patent