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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Razor (electric)

While working in Alaskan mines before returning to service in the First World War, Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Schick found himself struggling with foam and blades in the sub-zero temperatures as he attempted to shave. His solution was the World's first electric dry razor, with oscillating blades. Schick's prototype electric alternative resembled modern shavers, but was attached to a bulky external motor.

Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Schick first came up with the idea of an electric razor while recovering from dysentery, which made struggling to the sink for a daily shave a difficult task. After more than a decade he devised a machine for shaving without soap and water. Introduced in 1929, the two-handed Schick dry razor required the use of two hands, one to hold the bulky engine, while the other held the whirling razor attached to the motor by a dangling cord.

Sales for the two-handed Schick dry razor were sluggish but on May 13, 1930 the Lieutenant Colonel obtained patent No. 1,757,978 for a one-handed model. Schick's one-handed dry electric razor made its debut in America on March 18, 1931.

An early Schick electric shaver advertisement.

In 1929 mechanical and electrical engineer Alexandre Horowitz started working for Philips Laboratories in the Netherlands. There, he developed numerous products for the company, including the very successful concept of the revolving (rotary) electric razor.

This new electric razor - christened Philishave - was introduced at the Dutch Voorjaarsbeurs (Spring Fair) in March 1939 with the shavers going on sale in the fall of the same year.

Initial production was limited due to the outbreak of World War II (the production facility in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, was overrun by the German Army in 1940). In 1946, Philips launched a new model. With a larger shaving head and dark plastic casing, the Philishave Steelbeard quickly become a success.

A Philips rotary razor.

The Remington brand of razor was originally produced by a division of Remington Rand, starting in 1937.

Sperry Corporation sold the division in 1979 to Victor Kiam, who became the CEO and company spokesman of the new Remington Products Company. His line, "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company" became one of the more memorable advertising slogans of the early 1980s. Kiam personally recorded the advert in many different languages.

Electric razors played key roles in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999) The sound of the hovering battle tanks used by the battle droids was created by running an electric shaver around a metal salad bowl and then digitally lowering the pitch. Also when Liam Neeson's character Qui-Gon Jinn used a high-tech "communicator" device, it was actually a redecorated Sensor Excel Razor for Women.

Sources NNDBThe Independent

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