A look back through the sands of time at razors.
For as long as humans have walked the Earth, they have desired to tame their unwieldy manes. In prehistoric times, early razor forms were created from sharpened shark’s teeth and clamshells to trim back long facial and head hair. As human society developed, so did the razor. By the 4th millennium BC, razors made of gold and copper were being developed and buried in Egyptian tombs. Further ancient developments carried the razor all the way to Rome in the 6th century BC.
Continued development and use of the razor wove its way throughout the following centuries. These advancements allowed for the introduction of the first modern straight razor in Sheffield England during the 18th century. Made from steel, this razor was reluctantly accepted throughout Europe during the next 100 years. With the development of the Sheffield Steel razor, wealthy members of society would have their servants shave them often.
Daily shaving, however, was not common at this time. The introduction of gas masks during World War I was the instigator of the current cultural practice to shave every day. Needing to ensure their gas masks fit securely and snugly required constant grooming of facial hair. This practice continued after the war, and is still practiced by many today.
Until the 1950s, straight razors were the common form of razor used by barbershops and common men. However, an invention by King C. Gillette changed this. He had developed a safety razor that used replaceable blades. Due to an extremely effective marketing campaign, which portrayed the straight razors as ineffective, this new razor design was a huge success.
Today, the modern hand-held razors are based on Gillette’s original design. However, new designs such as the electric razor have been developed to compete with this gold standard. However, as razors have been with humans from the dawn of time, their continued use and advancement will likely continue for many centuries to come.